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VOL. I. 



E D I X B IT R G H : 


Sold al5o by Ogle & Aikman, and Guthrie Sc Tait, Edinburs^h ; M. Oglt, 

and R, Williamson, Glasgow ; E. Lesslie, Dundee; J. Burditt, 

Williams Sc Smith, and R. Ogle, London, 


V. 1 






My Lord, 

nPHE trouble you were lad year fo good as to 
take, in perufing a confiderable part of 
this work in manufcript, and the favourable 
fentiments you were pleafed to exprefs of what 
you had got time to perufe, have emboldened 
me to dedicate it to your Lordfhip. I mean not 
thus to befpeak your future patronage, or even 
approbation of the whole, when you fhall be- 
come acquainted with it. That can be only as 
your better judgment {hall dired. I well know 
that, if the book have no merit of its own, no 
patron whatever can long preferve it, or ought 



to prcferve it, if he could, from its natural fate, 
oblivion. But I am happy in this opportunity of 
exprefling to the world my gratitude for the pa- 
tronage you have already bellowed both on it 
and on its author. I am happy alfo to have it 
in my power to infcribe a work intended for 
promoting the beft interefls of mankind, the 
caufe of tnrth and probity, to one who, to the 
fatisfachon of the candid and judicious, has ap- 
proved himfelf an able defender of the moft 
important truths, as well as a fuccefsful deteclor 
of fraud and falfehood. 

I have the honour to be, with great refped, 

My Lord, 

Your Lordlhip's moft obliged 

and moft obedient fervant, 


Si^ptember 17. 1788^ 

on . 




Some Account of the Life and Writings of the 

Preface, - - - ~ • ix 


Obfervations on the language and Idiom of the 
New Teftament, on the Diveifity of Style, and 
on the Infpiration of the facred Writers. 

Pajit I. The language and Idiom. - - , 41 

Paut II. The Style and Infpiration. • - 57 


The Caufes to which the principal Differences in 
Languages are imputable ; the Origin of the 
Changes produced on the Language and the 
Idiom of the Jews; the principal Difliculties to 
be encountered in tranflating the facred Books. 

Part I. The Caufes of the Difftrences In Languages. 63 
Part II. The Origin of the Changes in the Idiora 

of the Jews. '.IH.^:' - 70 

Part III. The Difficulties found in tranflating the 

Scriptures. - ^ . ^5 


Of the ftyle of the Scripture Hiftory, particularly 
the Gofpels. — Its Perfpicuity defended againfl: 
the Objedions of Father Simon. - 83 




Obfervations on the right Method of proceeding 
in the critical Examination of the Books of the 
New Teftament. - - - no 


Of the proper Verfion of fome Names of principal 
Import in the New Tellament. 

Part I. Gf the Phrafe n B^tfiMta T»5i», or rn* «{«>*>. 134 

Part II. Of the Name to ey«vreA<«y. . 137 

Part III. Of the Phrafe » *«<") hx^viicv. 151 

Part IV. Of the name « X^is-roj. 153 


Inquiry into the Differences in the Import of fom.e 
Words commonly thought fynonymous. 

Part I. Aix^e^.a^, Axi^av d.nd Aai^fuey, 1 64' 

Part II. 'a5;jj and vejit*. i8o 

Part III. Ms-«*8j« and fiirct^ixaftut. 2C4 

Part I V. 'av/«j and oa-taj. 213 

Part V. }!iyi^V9<ruv,ivx'/yi\t^w,xeiTciy[i\>.iii,Znd^i^X7x.ui. 228 


Inquiry into the Import of certain Titles of Ho- 
r.our occurring in the New Teftament. 

Part I. Kue/*?. - - _ . 241 

Part II. A(J«rK«>ej, Rabbi. > . 257 


Obfervations on the Manner of rendering fome 
Words to which there are not any that perfed- 
ly correfpond in modern Languages. 

Part I. Weights, Meafures, and Coins. - 268 ■ 

Part II. Rites, Feftivals, and Scfts. - 27 S 

Part III. Drefs, Judicatories, and Offices. - 281 



Inquiry whether certain Names which have been 
adopted into moft Tranflations of Scripture in 
the Weft, coincide in Meaning with the original 
Terms from which they are derived, and of 
which they are ufed as the Verfion. 

Part I. Of Myllery. - - - 298 

Part II. Of Blafphcmy. - - - 306 

Part III. Of Schifm. - - - - 320 

Part IV. Of Herefj. - - - -326 


The chief Things to be attended to in tranflating. 
— A comparative View of the oppofite Methods 
taken by Tranflators of Holy Writ. 

Part I. The Things to be attended to in tranflating. 340 
Part II. Strlftures on Arias Montanus. - 342 

Part III. Striftures on the Vulgate. - . 351 

Part IV. Strictures on Caftalio. - - 359 

Part V. StriSures on Beza. - - 373 


Of the Regard which, in tranflating Scripture 
into Englilh, is due to the Pradice of former 
Tranflators, particularly of the Authors of the 
Latin Vulgate, and of the common Englifh 

Part I. The Regard due to the Vulgate. - 391 

Part II. The Regard due to the Englifli Tranflation. 42 


An account of what is attempted m the Tranfla- 
tion of the Gofpels, and in the Notes here of- 
fered to the Pubhc. 

Part I. The eflential Qualities of the Verfion. 437 

Part II. The readings of the Original here followed. 468 

Part III. The Dialed employed. - - 483 

Part IV. The outward Form of the Verfion, 493 

PartV. The Notes. ... 504 





George Campbell, D. D. the author of the 
following Work, was the youngeft of three fons of 
Mr Colin Campbell, one of the minifters of Aber- 
deen, a man of much refpecl and popularity. He 
was born on Dec. 25. 1719. He was deprived of 
his father, by his death, before he was nine years 
of age. He was educated at the grammar fchool, 
and afterwards at the Marifchal College of Aber- 
deen. Even in youth, he was noted for ftudiouf- 
nefs and ability. Having been intended for the 
profeflion of the law, he ferved an apprenticefhip 
with this view to a Writer to the Signet in Edin- 
burgh; a circumftance which mufl have contribu- 
ted to extend his general knowledge, and to increafe 
the acutenefs and ingenuity which he fo eminently 

While thus engaged, he attended the lecftures on 
the law of Scotland, delivered by the late John 
Erskjne, Efq.* a necefTary branch of education for 
this employment. It was then that an inclination 
arofe in his mind, not very likely to be excited by 
it, of devoting himfelf to a very different object 

Vol. I. b during 

* Father of the late Dr John Ersktne, one of the minifters of 


during his life. So much was he fmitten with the 
precilion and perfpicuity of Mr Erskine's lectures, 
and inftrucled by the information they contained, 
that he refolved to employ himfelf more entirely 
in the purfuits of literature, and made choice of the 
profeiTion of a clergyman, to prepare himfelf for 
which, his ftudies were thenceforth directed. 

He began to attend the theological ledures of 
Profeflbr Gowdie, at Edinburgh, before the con- 
clulion of his apprenticefhip, and became profelFed- 
ly a ftudent of divinity at King's and Marifchal 
Colleges, Aberdeen, in 1742. 

He was licenfed to preach by the prefbyter)' of 
Aberdeen in 1746, but did not obtain a charge for 
nearly two years after this. 

He was prefented to the parifh of Banchory Ter- 
nan, about feventeen miles from Aberdeen, in the 
prefbytery of Kincardine-o'Neil, and ordained there 
in June 1748. • In this parifh, he laid the founda- 
tions of the following Work, \-.hich he continued 
to enlarge, improve, and correct, for forty years. 
While fettled there, he married a lady of refped- 
able parentage, and of great worth and talents, 
•with whom he lived in mutual comfort till 1792,^ 
when he was deprived of her by death in her 73d 

After having continued minifler of this parifti 
for nine years, he was removed to the town of 
Aberdeen in 1757. It was here that his diflin- 
guifhed abilities were fo greatly improved and dif- 
played, and the amiablenefs of his difpofitions and 
character became generally known. He found aflb- 
ciates in this fituation in literary purfuits, with 
whom alfo he was united in the ftricteft friend- 
{hip Such were Dr Reid, Dr John Gregory, 
^nd Dr Be.\ttie, with feveral others. In 1759, he 



was appointed Principal of Marifchal College, in con- 
fequence of a prefentation from the Crown. Pre- 
vious to this, the public were not made acquainted 
with his talents. He had publiflied indeed in 1752, 
a fermon preached before the fynod of Aberdeen, 
on Matt. V. 13, 14. " Ye are the fait of the earth. 
Ye are the light of the world." But no one would 
have been led by the perufal of this difcourfe to 
have expecfted fuch works as he afterwards produ- 
ced. The fentiments indeed are fimilar, but they 
are not fet in that ftriking light, nor exprefTed 
with that chaftenefs and beautiful fimplicity, which 
is fo much the charad^er of the ftyle of his fubfe- 
quent writings. It may be prefumed that thefe 
were his own thoughts of this performance, as it is 
not included in the collection of his difcourfes in 
two volumes, publifhed by him not long before his 

Soon after his advancement, however, to his of- 
fice in the Univerfity, he publifhed, in 176:2, that 
maflerly differtation on Miracles, fi.rft preached as 
a fermon before the fynod of Aberdeen, which has 
been received with fuch univerfal admiration, 
and which even extorted unwilling acknowledg- 
ments from the author of the fophifm which he 
fo triumphantly refuted. It were indeed to have 
been wifhed that the Doctor, without deviating 
from the meeknefs and courteoufnefs which are the 
duty of Chriflians in fuch circumftances, and which 
are proper means to lead the adverfaries of the 
gofpel to repentance, had, in this Work, been more 
fparing in the compliments he beflowed on Mr 
HuiME. When the grofs proftitution is confidered 
of the eminent talents beftowed upon that cele- 
brated writer ; when the atheifm, infidelity, and 
immoral fentiments are taken into view, propa- 
gated, and ftill fpreading, by means of his 



works, ill the world, but efpccially among men 
of letters, or thofe who would be thought fuch, 
with the eternal ruin of fo many, which muft have 
been, and will be the effed of thefe ; methinks the 
language of zeal and of benevolent indignation is 
dictated by the love of truth, and of our fellow- 
creatures, and might have mixed with the acute 
and convincing reafonings, which, in the opinion 
of all the world, have fwept away the foundations 
of his peflilent fallacy as chaff before the wind *. 
This Eflay has gone through three editions, has 
been tranflated into the French, Dutch and Ger- 
man languages, and muft continue to be read as 
long as the fubjed of miracles is ftudied among 

In 1771 , Dr Campbell was chofen, by the Town 
Council of Aberdeen, Profeflbr of Divinity in the 
Marifchal College ; an office which he continued to 
fill, and the duties of which he performed with 
great ability and applaufe, for twenty-four years. 
To his engagements in thefe, we are indebted for 
a great part of the admirable Preliminary Diflerta- 
tions prefixed to his Tranflation of the Gofpels, 
and for the preledions on Ecclefiaftical Hiftory, 
with which the Public have been favoured fince 
his death. From the general view of thefe ledures 
given us by Mr Skene Keith, in his late account 
of his Life and Writings, they feem to have been 
fo truly valuable, that it cannot but be much re- 
gretted that no other part of them was prepared 
for the prefs. Hopes indeed have been entertained 
that the part, On Pulpit Eloquence, might yet fee 
the light ; but thefe expedations have not hitherto 


* So little regard had Mr Hume for truth or confiflency, that h© 
continued to republifti the Effiy on Miracles, without any hiicratior, 
in every fubfcqucnt edition of his Works. 


been gratified. The fentiments and inftruc^ons 
on that fubject, occafionally introduced in his 
other works, render the publication of thefe, even 
though they were unfinifhed, a great defideratum. 

His next publication was a Sermon preached 
before the Synod of Aberdeen on the 9th of April 
1 77 1. The fubjed was 2 Tim. i. 7. and the title 
of this difcourfe, ' The Spirit of the Gofpel nei- 
ther a Spirit of Superftition nor of Enthufiafm.* It 
extends to 123 pages 8vo. ; and whether we regard 
the critical examination of the text, or the libe- 
ral, enlarged, and fcriptural views it contains, few 
difcourfes will fo well reward a careful perufal. 
Thofe who have been charmed with the Prelimi- 
nary Differtations, will here find the fame ftrain of 
thinking, and the fame animated and free fpirit 
which dictated thefe. The fermon was attacked 
by Papifts, Nonjuring High Churchmen, and Me- 
thodifls, and a confiderable noife refpeding it pre- 
vailed for fome time ; but the author preferved to 
the lafl a dignified filence, and publifhed no reply 
to the many invedives poured upon him. 

One of his moft important and maflerly works 
was publifhed in 1756, entitled, * The Philofophy 
of Rhetoric/ in 2 vols. 8vo. The depth, the inge- 
nuity, and the talle difplayed in thefe volumes, ef- 
tabliflied the chara^^er of their author as a philofo- 
pher and critic of the firfi: rank. The title indeed 
does not at firft fuggeft an idea of all the contents 
ot the book, which embraces fome of the moft ab- 
ftracl parts of metaphyfics, and pours the cleareft 
light upon the moil: obfcure of them. The prin- 
ciples of tafi;e, of criticilm and elocution, are here 
difcuffed with great difcernment and originality, 
and the compofition, throughout elegant and fimple, 
though not ever\' where unomamented, exemplifies 



the rules laid clown by the author. The acute de- 
tedion of various faults in writing, and the defcrip- 
tion of the qualities of that ftyle which fhould be 
ftudied by thofe who are defirous of pleafing or im- 
prefling their hearers or readers, cannot be too 
clofely attended to, elpecially by the young, and 
thofe w^ho have not formed habits incapable of cor- 
redion and improvement. It may perhaps recom- 
mend this work to fome of our readers, and efpe- 
cially to thofe who are defirous, or preparing to 
preach the gofpel of Chrift, if \ve mention that 
this was a book which the late Dr Erskine held in 
the very higheft admiration, and ufed often to re- 
commend as far preferable to the ledures of Dr 
Blair, which, compared with it, though valuable, he 
always fpoke of as a mere compilation. 

In the fame year, 177C), he alfo publiflied a fer- 
mon which he had preached on the faft-day ap- 
pointed by Government, during the American 
war. The fubjed: is, the nature, extent, and duty 
of allegiance. It does not feem to have much con- 
nexion with the text, Prov. xxiv. 21. but is unquef- 
tionably handled with great ability, although per- 
haps objections might be made to fome parts of it, 
not ealily to be anfwered on the principles which 
X)r Campbell adopted. A fecond edition in i2mo 
fize, with the addition of many notes and illuftra- 
tions, and with a fhort analylis of the whole, w^as 
printed at Aberdeen in 1778, and 6oco copies of 
it, at the defire of the late Dr Tucker, the Dean 
of Gloucefter, were circulated in iVmerica. The 
world are not now to be informed, that this meafure 
had no fuccefs. In the preface, he expreiTes his ap- 
prehenfions that the republican principles then dif- 
feminated might ijGTue in the moft direful calami- 
ties ; but profefTes to exped, that the vifionary de- 


fences of them would be examined and expofed, and 
fo be abandoned by every body. Events have iliewn 
that his predictions have in part been contradict- 
ed, and in part too fatally fulfilled, and that the de- 
fertion of republican theories has not put a ftop to 
the calamities which the broaching and adoption of 
them produced. 

Dr Campbell's next ptiblication was a Sermon 
before the Society in Scotland for Propagating 
Chriftian Knowledge, preached June 6. 1777, and 
printed loon afterwards. The fubjedl is that flriking 
paiTage, i Cor. i. 25. However frequently treated, 
it may be confidently faid, that it was never illuftra- 
ted in a more beautiful, limple and impreilive man- 
ner. The doClrine of the crofs — the charadler of 
the mifiionaries — the effeds produced by their mi- 
niftry — are admirably ftated. The contraft be- 
tween the meafures of the apoftles, and thofe of 
the church of Rome, is drawn by the hand of a 
mailer, and the argument for the truth of the goi- 
pel from its propagation and fuccefs, is deduced 
with fuch fairnefs, and wound up with fuch force, 
that, to every one who attends, it muft be irrellfti- 
ble. Not a tew popular prejudices are difcuiTed 
in the courfe of his illuftrations, and much occa- 
fionil difquifition render it, independent of the 
main argument, and of the tafte with which it is 
compofed, a performance of great value. 

It is fingular that the publication immediately 
fucceeding this Ihould have been an Addrefs to the 
People of Scotland upon the alarms that have been 
raifed in regard to Popery. This was publiflied in 
1779, in confequence of a bill brought into Par- 
liament, to abolilh certain penalties to which pro- 
felTors of the Popilh religion were fubjecled, by fta- 
tutes enacled foon after the Revolution in 1688. 



An outcry was raifed, particularly in Scotland, on 
this fubjed:, which afterwards led to the commiflion 
of great atrocities. Dr Campbell had, in the two 
difcourfes already mentioned, exprefled his moft 
decided abhorrence of Popery, pointing out its 
oppofition to the fpirit of true Chriftianity, and had 
provoked its adherents in a high degree ; but he 
confidered the zeal againft it prevailing at that time 
in this country, the means ufed to excite it, and the 
way in which it was exprefled, as too fimilar in their 
nature and efFe(5ls to the caufe they oppofed. Many 
wife and worthy men, equally friends with him to 
religious toleration, and averfe to reftrain falfe reli- 
gion, as fuch, by temporal penalties, were yet how- 
ever differently minded from the Dodor ; and re- 
plies, fome of them more, and others lefs tempe- 
rate and able, were publifhed to his Addrefs, which 
without regard to its immediate object, mufl be 
allowed to contain much found argument, moft ad- 
mirably expreffed, equally dictated by jufl policy, 
as by the doctrine of the New Teftamcnt. 

It is curious enough, that three and twenty years 
after the publication of this Addrefs, he has been 
charged by the biographer of the late Dr Geddes 
with ranking " am^ong the bigots of Scotland, (as 
he thinks proper to call them), who did not con- 
ceive themfelves fafe while the remoteft degree of 
favour was evinced towards Roman Catholics in 
any part of the ifland *." He is even reprefented 
by this writer as the author of a trad entitled, A 
Vindication of this Oppofition, &c, although on 
the title-page of that trad, it appears that it was 
written in anfwer to his Addrefs. Mr Good is fo 
very ignorant, as to imagine that the Principal had 


* Memoirs of the Life and Writings of AiEX. Gkddes, L. L. P. 
By John Mason Good. Lond. ;8o3. p. 73. 


afterwards changed his fentiments; in proof of 
which, he appeals to the " liberaUty and candour 
which blazes forth in every page of his Leclures on 
Ecclefiaftical Hiftory." The truth is, that the fenti- 
ments of his Addrefs and of his Lectures are not 
only perfectly confiftent with each other, but that 
both appear to have been entertained by him at 
a very early period, and were iledfaftly held and 
openly profefled during his whole life. 

In the fame year, he publiflied a Sermon preach- 
ed at the Aflizes at Aberdeen, at the requeft of the 
late Lord Garden stone, the Judge. The fubjecl was 
Prov. xiv. 35. " Pvighteoufnefs exalteth a nation." 
In a very juil and beautiful introduclion, he adverts 
to the inconfiflency and abfurdity of libeitines, 
(fuch libertines, alas ! are the generality of man- 
kind), who treat religion vrith contempt, conlider 
it as a reftraint, and reprefent it as an intolerable 
burden, while yet they maintain that its origin and 
reception upon earth is owing to the deli gns of po- 
liticians, who find it neceflary to keep the people 
in fubjedion, and to add authority to the laws. 
Ha\ing made fome pertinent animiadverfions on 
this fubject, he proceeds to fhew that Chrifiianity 
conduces to the exaltation and felicity of the body 
politic in four different ways : ifi:. By the tendency 
and extent of its lavrs ; 2d, By the nature and im- 
portance of its fanclions: 3d, By the afliftance it gives 
the civil magiflrate, both in fecuring fidelity and in 
difcovering truth ; 4th, By the pofitive enforce- 
ment of equity and good government on the ru- 
lers, and of fubmiffion and obedience on the peo- 
ple. Each of thefe points he illuftrates and proves 
in fuch a way " as oft was thought, but ne'er fo 
well exprefs'd." 

Vol. I. c May 


May we be permitted however to fay, that 
much as we refped: Dr Campbell's Writings, we 
cannot aflent to the conclufions on this fubject,^ 
which are ftated very largely in the latter part of 
the fermon. 

The firft of them is, that the fecular power 
ought to give alt pojfible countenance to religion, 
and to the ordinances of divine worfhip. — That 
fuch fecular powers as believe the gofpel, ought to 
give countenance to religion, and to the ordinances 
of God, is perfedly jufl, and that this will be 
their conduct, unlefs where the prejudices of cer- 
tain fyftems miflead them, is undoubtedly true. 
But that countenance mufl be of a kind fuitable 
to, and Umited by the fpirit and genius of religion, 
and calculated to promote its proper influence and 
profperity. Dr Campbell, in ilhiftrating his fecond 
propofition, has juftly obferved, that " religion ope- 
rates folely by faith, and has no influence further 
than it is beheved " Should we deflre then, or is it 
fit, that fecular powers, who are not themfelves 
Chriftians, afliime a form of godlinefs, and be- 
come hypocrites, to promote the welfare of the 
community ? God neither permits nor approves of 
any worfhip which is not conducted in fincerity and 
truth. To the wicked he fays, *' What haft thou 
to declare my ftatutes, or to take my covenant in 
thy mouth ?" The means which fuch would 
em.ploy to promote what they may call Chri- 
fbanity, will never furely anfwer any end but that 
of corrupting it. It is true, religion is not with- 
out influence, even on thofe who do not cordialK 
embrace it ; and it is the inftrument by this 
means, though indiredly, of no fmall advan- 
tage to civil communities, and to the world at large. 
But this is not an end to which either Jefus Chrift or 



his apoflles applied it, nor are his difciples at liber- 
ty to promote this, although they may obferve it 
taking place. Even falle religion, fo far as 
mixed with what is true, is, upon the whole, better 
for the world than Atheifm, which excludes all 
regard to a fupreme Governor upon earth, and 
acknowledges no unchangeable c^ftinclion between 
moral good and evil. But no Chriftian is at liber- 
ty, on that account, to afford it any countenance. 
They can produce good fruit only by making the 
tree good. — In the fecond conclufion from his pre- 
mifes, Br Campbell feems to have forgotten that he 
had proved only the condiicivenejs of religion to the 
profperity and happinefs of ftates. He here afFumes, 
however, its indijpenfable neceffityfor their Juppo7-t, and 
reafons from this, that all who appear enemies toChri- 
flianity, are enemies to their country, as, no doubt, 
indiredly they are, although not amenable to the 
magiftrate on that account. The whole which he 
has advanced on this head, is at variance with many 
parts of his Writings, and efpecially with the fenti- 
ments of his lad work, the i eclures on Eccleiiaftical 
Hiftory ; fee particularly ch. xxv. Did he advert, 
that the great end of civil governments is protedion 
and comfort in this life ; that its great bond is felf- 
intereft ; and, that the majority in all the kingdoms 
of this world, whether governors or governed, have 
been, and are influenced to ftudy its welfare by 
no principle fuperior to this ? Did he attend to 
the aflurances which are contained in the Scrip- 
tures, that the church of God fhall never be ex- 
tincl: ; alTurances, as he elfewhere fays, ' wliich do 
not ftand in need of any engagements from kings 
or parliaments to fulfil them*?' Did he confider,that 
whatever may come of falfe religion, or falfe pro- 


* Addrefs in regard to Popery, &c, p. 12, 


feflrjrs of true religion, no weapon formed againfl 
his caufe fhall profper, or finally prevail ? Unquef- 
tionably if God had not a people upon earth, the 
world fhould ere this time have been as Sodom and 
Gomorrah, and when chey are all gathered out, *' the 
confumption decreed fhall overflow in righteoufnefs." 
It is indeed but too true, as he foreboded, that open 
atheifm, and grofs corruption of morals, have ad- 
vanced with rapid progrefs during the twenty-five 
years which have pafi^ed fince he publiflied this dif- 
courfe. Virtue, laws, liberties and conftitutions 
have gone down together in general ruin. And 
what further miferies await the world, who at this 
period will venture to fay ? All this furnifhes no 
proof of the poffibility, and no argument for the 
neceflity or obligation of promoting or protecHng 
true religion, by departing from its fpirit, or by em- 
ploying the carnal weapons, which are requifite and 
proper in the kingdoms of this world. 

The reader will forgive this digreflion. "We have 
imbibed the fpirit of Dr Campbell's Writings too 
deeply to encourage implicit faith even in them. 

The laft and greateft work which he publifhed 
during his life, was the Tranflation, Diflertations, 
and N'otes, the third edition of which is now pre- 
fented to the Public. This elaborate performance 
firft appeared about eighteen years ago, in two 
volumes 4/0, and it gives us now great fatisfadion 
to bring it within the reach of a clafs of readers, 
who could not formerly obtain it on account of the 
price. We may venture to fay, that it has ob- 
tained the greateft approbation from thofe who are 
befl: qualified to judge of its merit and utility. The 
verfion we do not fuppofe to be every where fault- 
lefs, or preferable to that in common ufe, and there 
may be a few inftances in which the mean- 


ing of the original is not exprefled in the moft ex- 
ad; and the plainnefl language. It muft be owned 
however, that, in very many places, it feems far fu- 
perior to the ordinary tranflation ; and, in others, 
difficulties are removed which muft greatly embar- 
rafs thofe who rigidly adhere to it. But the reader 
who is truly dehrous of underftanding the NewTefta- 
ment, will be agreeably difappointed, if he has con- 
fidered it merely as a tranflation of the Gofpels, 
an interpretation of difficult pafliiges, and an intro- 
duction to thefe books. Independent of the nu- 
merous paflages in other parts of the Scriptures il- 
luflrated and explained incidentally, the Prelimina- 
ry DiiTertations contain a fund of knowledge, which, 
rightly employed, will ferve as a key to the whole 
New Teftament, and to great part of the Old Tef- 
tament ; and he who properly ufes it will be able, 
w^e may venture to fay, to unlock treafures inac- 
ceffible to carelefs or ordinary readers. Though 
thefe volumes are not a commentary on Scripture, 
they enable every perfon of tolerable talents, who 
will apply himfelf to the fubjed, to become his own 
commentator; they qualify him for throwing off un- 
due dependence on human authority and opinion, 
and to be fatisfied in his own mind and judgment 
concerning the true and certain import of the dic- 
tates of the Spirit of God. To ufe Dr Campbell's 
own comparilbn*, the fcope of this book is to lead 
the ftudent of the facred v/ritings to take them into 
his own hand, to furnifh liim with a fupply of light, 
and to dired his attention to the comparifon of 
one part with another. Though the character be 
old, familiarity and application will fooner furmount 
difficulties, than if he trufted to the eyes of other 


* Mr Sksne Keith's View of his Preleaions, &c. Vol. I. P. 67. 


people, and faved himfelf the expence of thought 
and reflection. 

The firft requifite for entering into the fpirit of 
the Scriptures is, without doubt, to underfland with 
certainty the meaning of words and phrafes. It 
was well obferved by Melandhon, ' that Scripture 
cannot be underilood theologically, until it be 
known grammatically.' Juft tranflation then muft 
always be regarded as the mofl important fenice by 
thofe readers of the word of God, who do not tho- 
roughly underfland the languages in which it is writ- 
ten. Such was the well-founded fentiment of thofe 
learned men who have favoured us with a compara- 
tive view of the tranllations of it into no lefs than ten 
different languages, under the name of " the Poly- 
glott," all of them prior to the date of any manu- 
fcripts at prefent known to exift. Deftitute of fome 
advantages enjoyed by thefe very early tranflators, 
we are ycf pofTefTed of fome which did not belong 
to the learned men, who were em.ployed two hun- 
dred years ago to produce the Englifh verfion now 
in ufe Great cauie of gratitude to God as this 
tranflation, in many relpeds moft excellent, pre- 
fents, it mufl yet be owned, that the art of criticifm, 
and the knowledge of languages, were, in their days, 
comparatively in their infancy. It cannot but be 
confeffed, that many of their words and idioms are 
now obfolete and obfcure,and that they themfelves 
feem to have been uncertain about the import of 
fome paffages, miftaken in others, and have deba- 
fed the dignity and propriety of not a few. Among 
thofe* who have undertaken fince their time to 
render the New Teflament into Englifli, it will be 
generally allowed that Dr Campbell far excels every 


* I\T,ce. Whet'-am, Doddridge. Wells, Purver, Worfley, Wynne, 
lianvood, W akefield, Ncwconie, Hawcis, Scarlett, and otheis. 


one of them in fidelity, perfpicuity, and fuitable- 
nefs to common ule, as much as in elegance, digni- 
ty, and unaffected fimplicity. We cannot help 
entertaining hopes, that this Work will not only be 
placed in more libraries than yet polTeis it, but 
that it will be found in general circulation among 
thofe who are defirous to learch the Scriptures 
that they may obtain eternal life. 

The lafl part of his Writings which has feen 
the light, are his Lectures on Ecclefiaftical Hiflory, 
with an Efiay on Chriftian Temperance and Selt- 
denial. Thefe ledures were publiihed from his 
nianufcript by George Skene Keith, Minifter of 
Keith Hall, Aberdeenfliire, about fix years ago. 
They formed, as has been already mentioned, a 
part of his courfe of theological inftrudion, were 
tranfcribed and revifed by himfelf, and had been 
improved, enlarged, and corrected every year du- 
ring the w^hole time of his being engaged in deli- 
vering them. If it has been remarked w^th juftice 
that it is not poflible to fay from his verfion of the 
Evangelifts to w^hat religious denomination he be- 
longed, this holds flill more true refpeding thele 
two moil interefting volumes, which no one cer- 
tainly fhould have expe6ted from the pen of a 
Prcfbyterian clergyman. They conhft of twenty- 
eight ledures, all of them compofed in a bold and 
ardent ftyle, and every w^here difcovering the ta- 
lents and erudition of the author. They are not 
intended to make perfons acquainted with the fads 
of eccleiiafhcal hiflory, who are ignorant of them, 
but to exhibit fome of the chief of thefe as con- 
neded with the rife and progrefs of clerical ufurp- 
ation. They are introduced with fome juft re- 
marks on the facred hiftory contrafled wdth that of 
Jofephus, wdth an account of the canon of Scrip- 


ture, of the peculiar nature of the Jewifh govern- 
ment, and of the origin and advancement of the 
Chriftian church. After this he proceeds to trace 
the gradual and infenfible innovations of time, 
their caufes and the manner of their operation. He 
marks the diftinguifhing character of things civil 
and facred, and points out the evil of confounding 
them. A great part of his labours is beflowed in 
delmeating the characters of the Papacy, the in- 
ftruments of its eftablifhm.ent and fecurity, and the 
progrefs and caufes of its decline. The dreams of 
fuperftition vanifh before him as he proceeds, and 
he has ftormed and demolifhed the ftrongeft for- 
trelTes of facerdotal influence and authority. It 
muft be remarked, however, that the field is after 
all imperfectly occupied. The corruptions of the 
gofpel, and the fundamental doctrines and laws of 
Jefus Chrift, as connected with the extent and fuc- 
cefs of a worldly hierarchy, arc no where taken 
into view. The revival of what Luther called the 
articulus Jfantis velcadentis ccclefice^, is not mention- 
ed ; and its influence in cjrcumfcribing and con- 
fuming the power of the man of fin, is altoge- 
ther unnoticed It mufl: alfo be owned, that the 
ftyle of thefe le(ftures too often approaches the bor- 
ders of levity ; fo that the per^'erfions of Chrifti- 
anity which they record, and the vile arts employed 
to uphold them, may feem expofed rather to ridi- 
cule than to juft abhorrence and deteftation. It 
may alfo be obferved, that if the Doclor had been 
better acquainted with the ftate of religious profef- 
fion in his own country, he would fcarcely have 
faid, ' that in all the different religious feels, he 
had not found one which perfedly coincided 


* Juftification by faith without works. 


with the model of the apoflolic church *.' Some 
fuch at lead there certamly were and are, though 
perhaps too inconliderable to attrad his obierva- 
tion, refembling pretty clofely the draught which 
he has himfelf exhibited of this model. 

If he had coiifidered too, how it came about that 
all the churches of apoflolic times were fo exadly 
alike in their government and dilcipline, he could 
fcarcely have hazarded the remark, ' that if a par- 
ticular form of polity had been eilential to the 
church, it had been laid down in another m.anner in 
the facred books f.' He does not appear to have 
adopted the primitive opinion : * Conftat id eflc ab 
apoftolis traditum quod apofholorum ecclefiis facro 
fandlum ;' nor to have believed that the direc- 
tions of the apoftles to the churches were the per- 
fonal injundions of their Mafter, or the infallible and 
unalterable didates of his Holy Spirit. Defxient 
and imperfed in thefe refpeds as Dr Campbell's 
Ledures may feem to fome ; anarchical, or even fe- 
ditious and unfounded, as they may appear perhaps 
to others ; they will continue, we doubt not, to be 
confidered and fludied as one of his moft maflerly 

Pity it is that the Eflay on Temperance and Self- 
denial fliould be the only fpecimen w^e pofTefs of his 
Writings on moral fubjeds ! Although it be lefs 
pradical than might have been expeded, and 
though the other Eflay s w4iich he left behind him 
are unfinifhed, yet, as they appear to have been in- 
tended for the prefs, his friends would certainly 
perform an acceptable fervice by pulililliing'them. 
Even the firft Iketches of fuch a mafier ought to 
be preferved, and would undoubtedly tend to the 
inftrudion of mankind. 

Vol. I. D The 

* Vol. I. p. I. 41. f p. 141. 


Dr Campbell was of a feeble conftitution ; the 
form of his body was unfavourable to health, and 
he was fubjed to frequent attacks of difeafe. He 
was rather of low ftature, and ftooped much ; but 
his features were animated, agreeable and full of 
meaning, and his eye uncommonly expreffive, ef- 
pecially when he was engaged in converfation or 
public fpeaking. His manners were amiable, 
mild and unoftentatious, and his behaviour 
in company unafluming and attentive. The 
outline of his head, prefixed to thefe volumes, was 
taken at Edinburgh, when on his way to London 
in 1787. to piiblifh his Tranllation. It is a moft 
corred likenefs, and no one who knew him at that 
time can fail to recognize the original. 

He was feized with a violent illnefs in 1791 , from 
which it was not expected that he could have reco- 
vered. His own expectations and the fears of his 
friends, hovrever, were agreeably difappointed, and 
he was able to return to his fomier ftudies and en- 
gagements, though not with all his ufual application. 
About four years after this, being fenfible of de- 
cline both in body and mind, he religned his pro- 
feflbrfliip and his parifh, and in no long time his 
office alfo of Principal of Manfchal College. He 
was fucceeded in both by the prefent incumbent, 
Dr W. L. Brown, formerly of the Univeriity of 
Utrecht, and had a penfion of L. 300 per annum 
afligned him by Government. A few months af- 
ter this, March 31. he was afFeded with a paralytic 
flroke, was deprived of fpeech, and languifhed till 
the day of April 1796, when he died, beloved, 
eileemed, and regretted by all who had the plea- . 
fure of his acquaintance, and highly valued by 
great numbers who had never feen him, but had 
known him only in his works. 

Edinburgh, Jan. 1. 180 7- PRE- 


In compliance with a cuftom, which is not without its advan- 
tages, I purpofe, in this place, to lay before the reader fome 
account of the following work, its rife and progrefs, nature and 
defign. To do fo will, perhaps, be thought the more necefTarj, 
as there have been, in this and the preceding century, many 
publications on the Gofpels, both abroad and at home, in fome 
or other of which, it may be fuppofed, that all the obfervations 
of any confequence, which can be offered here, mud have been 
anticipated, and the fubjeft in a manner exhaufted. I am not 
of opinion that the fubjedt can be fo eafily exhauftcd as fome 
may fuppofe. I do not even think, it poffible for the richeft 
imagination to preclude all fcope for further remark, or for the 
greateft acutenefs to fuperfede all future criticifm. On the 
other hand, it muft be owned polTible, that a man may write 
copioufly on a fubjeft, without adding to the flock of knowledge 
provided by thofe who wrote before him, or faying any thing 
which has not been already as well, or perhaps better, faid by 
others. How far this is applicable to the prefent publication, 
muft be fubmitted to the judicious and intelligent reader. In 
the mean time, it may be hoped that it will not be judged an 
unfair attempt at befpeaking his favour, to give him a brief ac- 
count of the origin and preparation of the work now offered to 
his examination. 

As far back as the year 1750, foon after 1 had gotten the 
charge of a country parifh, 1 firll formed the delign of colleding 
fuch ufeful criticifms on the text of the New Te (lament, as 
fliould either occur to my own obfervation, or as I ihould meet 
with in the courfe of my reading ; particularly, to take notice 
of fuch propofed alterations on the manner of tranflating the 
words of the original, as appeared not only defenfible in them- 
felves, but to yield a better meaning, or at leaft, to exprefs the 
meaning with more perfpicuity or energy. Having, for this 
purpofe, provided a folio paper book, which I divided into 
pages and columns, correfponding to the pages and columns of 
the Greek New Teflament which I commonly ufed, I wrote 
down there, in the proper place, as they occurred, fuch altera* 
tions on the tranflation as, in my judgn.cnt, tended to improve 
it, and could be rationally fupported. And having divided the 
pages in the middle, I allotted tlse upper part of each for the 

Vol. 1. B verfion, 


verfion, and the lower ior fcholia, or notes, containing the reafons 
("wherever it appeared neccflary to fpec;fy reafons) of the 
changes introduced. In this way I proceeded many years, mere- 
ly for my own improvement, and that I might qualify myfelf 
for being more ufeful to the people intruded to my care. 1 did 
not aflign to this occupation any flated portion of my time, but 
recurred to it occafionally, when any tiling occurred in reading, 
or offered itfelf to my refleftions, which appeared to throw light 
on any paff^ge of the New Teftament. 

Things proceeded in this train, till I found 1 had made a new 
verfion of a confiderable part of that book, particularly of the 
Crofpels. The fcho/ia 1 had added, were indeed very brief, being 
intended only to remind me of the principal reafons on which 
my judgment of the different paffagcs had been founded. But 
foon after, from a change of circumftances and fltuation, having 
occaGon to turn my thoughts more clofely to fcriptural critcifm 
than formerly, I entered into a minute examination of many 
points concernmg which I had thrown together fome hints in my 
colleftion. On fome of the points examined, I have found reafon 
to change my firfl: opinion : on others I have been confirmed in 
the judgment I had adopted. I have always laid it down as a rule 
in my refearches, to diveft myfelf, as much as poffible, of an ex- 
ceflive deference to the judgment of men ; and I think that in my 
attempts this way, I have not been unfuccefsful. I am even con- 
fident enough to fay, that 1 caij with juftice apply to myfelf the 
words of the poet : 

Nullius addi<5lus jurare in verba magiftri ; 

or rather the words of one much greater than he ; I have learnt, 
in things fpiritual to cai/ no man Majler upon earth. At the 
fame time that I have been careful to avoid an implicit defer- 
ence to the judgment of any man, I have been ready to give a 
patient hearing, aod imjDartial examination, to reafon and argu- 
ment, from what quarter foever it proceeded. That a man dif- 
fers from me on fome articles, has given me no propenfity to re- 
jeft his fentiments on other articles ; neither does the concurrence 
of his fentiments with mine on fome points, make me prone to 
admit his fentiments on others. Truth 1 have always fought 
(now there is no refpeA of perfons in this purfuit) : and, if a man 
may pronounce fafely on what paffes within his own breaft, I 
am warranted to fay I have fought it in the love of truth. 

It muft be acknowledged that though a blind attachment to 
certain favourite names has proved, to the generality of mankind, 
a copious fource of error ; an overweening conceit of their own 
reafon has not proved lefs effectual in feducing many who affeft to 
be confidered as rational inquirers. In thefe I have often obferv- 
ed a fundamental miitake, in relation to the proper province of 
the reafoning faculty. With them reafon is held the llandard of 

'' truth ; 

P R E F A e E. XI 

truth ; whereas, it is, primarily, no more than the teft or the 
touchltone of evidence, and ia a fecondary fenfe only the itand- 
ard of truth. Now the difFerence between thefe two, however 
little it may appear, on a fuperticial view, is very great. When 
God revealed his will to men, he gave tliem fufficient evidence, 
that the information conveyed to them by his minifters, was a 
revelation from him. And it cannot be jultly doubted that, 
without fuch evidence, their unbelief and rejeftion of his mini- 
iters would have been without guilt. The works^ faid our Lord, 
which the Father hath given me to JiniJ}:), hear imtnefs of ?ne that 
the Father hath fent we, John v. ^6. And again ! ^f 1 had 
not done among them the works xvhich none other man did, they had 
not had Jin, John xv. 24. His works were fufficient evidence 
that what he taught was by commiffion from God ; and without 
fuch evidence, he acknowledges their unbelief would have been 
blamelefs : whereas, on the contrary, having gotten fuch evidence, 
there was nothing further they were intitled to, and confequently 
their difbelief was inexcufible. 

Some modern rationalills will fay, ' Is not the fubjeft itfelt 
* fabmitted to the tell of reafon, as well as the evidence ?' It is 
readily granted, that afubjedt mav be poilefled of fuch characl;ers 
as are fufficient grovmd of rejefting it in point of evidence, ami 
is, therefore, in this refpeft, fubmitted to the teft of reafon. If 
any thing were affirmed that is felf-contradiftory, or any thing 
enjoined that is immoral, we have fufficient internal evidence, that 
fuch things cannot proceed from the Father of lights, and the 
Fountain of good, which all the external proofs that could be 
produced on the other tide, would never be able to furmcunt. 
The proofs, in that cafe, might confound, but could not rationally 
convince the underftanding. We mav, for example, venture to 
alTert, that no conceivable evidence from without, could render 
the theology of Hefioa or Homer, in any degree, ' credible. 
Thus far, therefore, it will be allowed, that reafon is intitled to 
examine and judge concerning the fubjeft itfelf : for there may 
be fomething in the fubjecl that may ferve as evidence, either in 
its favour, or againfl it. At the fame time it mull be owned 
that, the more the fubjed is above the things which commonly fall 
under the difcuflion of our faculties, the narrower is the range 
of oiu- reafon ; infomuch that, in things fo far beyond our reach 
as thofe may be fuppofed to be which are conveyed by revelation 
from God, there I3 hardly any internal character that can be con- 
fidered as fufficient to defeat a claim, otherwife well fupported, 
but either, as has been faid, abfurdity or immorality. 

Now here lies tlie principal difference between the impartial 
feekers of truth, whofe minds are unbiaffed on every fide, and 
thofe who, under the appearence of exalting human reafon, ido- 
lize all their own conceptions and prejudices. I fpeak not of 



thofe who rejeft revelation altogether ; but of thofe who, whilft 
thej admit the truth of the Chriilian revelation in general, con- 
fider tlieir own reafon as competent to determine, and prejudge, 
as I may fay, what it is fit for God, either to declare as truth, 
or to command as duty. Such people, for example, if they do 
not difcover an ufeful purpofe that any particular declaration in 
Scripture can anfvver, boldly conclude, in defiance of the cleared 
pofitive evidence, that it is not there : if they cannot divine the 
intention of Providence in the produdion of any being, or order 
of beings, of which there may be frequent mention in holy 
writ, they infer, that fuch being, or order of beings, notwith- 
flanding the notice there taken of them, does not exift. They 
ivill not admit the reality of an operation of which they do not 
perfe6lly compreliend the manner, though the former may be a 
matter clearly revealed in Scripture, the latter not. Now, the 
rejection of the aid of reafon altogether (the common error of 
fanatics of every denomination), and fuch a convidlion as that 
now defcribed of its all-fufliciency, are extremes which the judi- 
cious, but humble- minded Chriftian, will think it incumbent on 
him equally to guard againft. 

Indeed thcje deifiers of human reafon, of whom I have been 
fpeaking, feem, all the while to miftake the proper province of 
reafon. They proceed on the fuppofition that, from her own 
native ftock, Ihe is qualified for the difcovery of truth : of all 
fuch truths, at leaft, as are of any confequence to a man to be 
acquainted with. The fadl is nearly the reverfe : for except 
thofe things which pafs within our own minds, and which we 
learn folely from what is called confcioufnefs, and except the 
deduflions made from felf- evident or mathematical axioms, all 
cur iitormation relating to faft, or exillence of any kind, is from 
without. Hence all our knowledge of arts, fcience, languages ; 
of hiftory, philofophy, and every thing in which human life is 
concerned. Do I, by this, mean to depreciate human reafon as 
a thing of little confequence ? Far from it. Pvcafon, I am fenfi- 
ble, is abfoiutely necellary to render us capable of that informa- 
tion from without, by which we are enabled to make fo gr-eat 
progiefs in knowledge. For want of this power entirely, or at 
Icall in the requifite degree, how little, comparatively, is the 
greatefl knowledge which the mod lagacious of the brute crea- 
tion can attain? I cannot, therefore, be juftly thought to dero- 
gate from a faculty which, by my hypothefis, conftitutes the 
radical diftiuftion between man and bead. Would a man be 
underdood to depreciate that admirable organ of the body, the 
eye, becaufe he affirmed, that unlefs the world, which is with- 
out the body, furnidied us Vvith light, our eyes could be of no 
fervice to us ? Reafon is the eye of the mind : it is in confe- 
quence of our pofleffing it, that we are fufceptible either of reli- 



gion or of law. Now the light by which the mental eye is in- 
formed, comes alfo from without, and confifts chiefly in tcfli- 
mony, human or di\nne. 

I would recommend it, therefore, to thofe who are accounttd 
the moft refined rationalilts in religion to take the trouble to re- 
flect; a little, and inquire what is the method which tlicy, and 
yideed all, mull follow, in the acquiiiiion of human knowledge. 
In natural hiftory, for example, how inlignificant would be our 
progrefs, if our convidion were to be regulated by the fame 
maxims by which thofe men feem to regulate their faith iu mat- 
ters of revelation ? If our not knowing the ufe of any thing 
were a fufficient reafon for diflielieving its exiftence, how many 
animals, how many vegetables, how many inanimate iubllances, 
apparently ufelefs, or even noxious, fliould we difcard out of 
our fyftems of mature, inflexibly denying that they exi;l any 
where, except in the difordered imaginations of men ? Nor 
ihould we make greater proficiency in the other branches of 
fcience. Of nothing have we clearer evidence than of this, that 
by means of the food which animals fwallow, life is preferved, 
the body is nourifhed, the limbs gradually advance in Itrength 
and fize, to their full maturity. Yet, where is the philofopher, 
where is the chemift, who can explain, or will pretend to under- 
lland, the procefs whereby the nourifhment is converted into 
chyle, and the chyle into blood, and the blood into fkin, and 
flefh, and bones and fmews ? 

Now if, in matters of fcience, merely human, our ignorance 
of the ufe, in the one cafe, and of the manner of operation, in the 
other, does not preclude our belief of the fa6l, a belief which 
ultimately rells, in moH. cafes, on the teftimony of our fellow- 
creatures ; can we think it reafonable to be more ftiy of admit- 
ting a fadl, on the teiUmony of God, when, in effect, we admii 
that fufficient ground is given us to conclude that we have his 
teflimony ? For I do not here argue with the denieis of revela- 
tion, but with thofe who, profeifing to believe it, rejed its ob- 
vious meaning. Are we better acquainted with things divint 
than with things human ? or with things eternal than with 
things temporal ? Our Lord, in his converfation with Nicode- 
mus, feemed to conlider it as an acknowledged truth, that things 
earthly are more level to the natural capacity of man than things 
heavenly, Johniii. I2. Yet how foon would an effectual ftop 
be put to our progrefs in every branch, even of earthly fcience, 
were we to lay down as maxims, that the exiflence of any 
being, however well attefled, whereof we cannot difcover the 
ufe, is not to be believed ; and that the produdion of an effed, 
if we do not comprehend the mode of operation in the caufe, is 
incredible ? The much greater part of all human knowledge^ 
whether of things corporeal or things fpiritual, things terreikial, or 



things celeftial, is originally from information. Revelation 
means no other than information from God ; and whatever hu- 
man knowledge we derive from the teftimony of our fellow- 
mortals, which is more than ninety-nine parts in a hundred of 
all we are polTeiTed of, is, if I may be allowed the expreffion, a 
revelation from man. In regard to both, we ought, no doubt, 
in the firft place, to be fatisfied that we have the proper teftimo- 
ny ; but when this point is afcertained, I think it unaccountable 
to rejeft the obvious meaning of the divine teftimony (which is 
indiredly to rejedl the teftimony), on grounds which no judici- 
ous perfon would think fufficient to warrant him in rejefting the 
tfeftimony of a man of charafter. If ye have not fatisfaftory 
evidence, that what claims to be the teftimony of God is really 
fuch, ye are no doubt entitled to reje6l it. But do not firft ad- 
mit the teftimony, and afterwards refufe your affent to what it 
manifeftly implies ; and that for fuch a reafon as would prove 
no obrtacle to your aflent, on the information of a fellow-mortal. 
This is furely the reverfe of what might be expefted from a 
humble pious Chriftian, For if we receive the witnefs of merit 
the witnefs of God is greater. I John v. 9. 

Befides, this conduft, in rejedling the obvious fenfe of the di- 
vine teftimony, is the more inexcufable, as the circumftance on 
which the rejection is founded, is fuch as the whole analogy of 
nature leads us to expe£l in all the works of the Creator. If, 
in every part of the creation, we find that there are many crea- 
tures, the purpofe of whofe exiftence we cannot inveftigate ; and 
that there are hardly ^ny natural productions in which, though, 
from experience, we may difcover the caufe, we can trace its 
operation ; it is but juft to conclude, that this unfearchablenefs to 
human faculties, is a fort of fignature imprefl'ed on the works of 
the Moft High, and which, when found in any thing attefted as 
from him, ought to be held at leaft a prefumption in favour of 
the teftimony. 

But though nothing can be more different from an implicit adop- 
tion of all the definitions, diftinftions and particularities of a fe6l, 
than the general difpofition of the rationalift : there is often a great 
refemblance in their methods of criticifing, and in the ftretches which 
they make for difguifing the natural interpretation of the facred 
text. Each is, in this, adluated by the fame motive, namely, to 
obtrude on others that interpretation which fuits his favourite 
hypothefis. And, if we may fay of the one, that he is too fool- 
ifti to be improved by teaching ; we may, ivith equal juftice, fay 
of the other, that he is too wife to attend to it. Revelation, furely, 
was never intended for fuch as he Our Lord faid to the Pha- 
riles, that he came not to call the righteous^ hut finners^ to repen- 
tance. Mat. ix. 13. We may, with litce reafon, fay, he came 
not to inftrud the learned^ but the ignorant. Nay he, in effeft, 



fays fo himfelf. It was to habes in knowledge, not io fages, that 
the things of God were revealed by him, Math, xi 25. The 
difpofition of children, fo often recommended as necelfary for 
our giving a proper reception to the Gofpel, and obtaining ad- 
miffion into the kingdom, refers as clearly to the teachable temper 
of children, free from prepoffeflions and felf conceit, as to their 
humility and innocence. How llrongly is this fentiment expreffed 
by the Apoftle : If any man among you feemeth to be wife in this 
•world, let him become a fool ^ that he may be ivifcy 1 Cor. iii. 18. 
The judicious and candid will not miftake me, as, in matters of 
religion, decrying the ufe of reafon, without which, I am fenfible, 
we cannot proceed a fingle flop ; but as pointing out the proper 
application of this faculty. 

In what concerns revelation, reafon has a two-fold province ; 
firft, to judge whether what is prefented to us as a revelation from 
God, or, which is the fame thing, as the divine teitimony to the 
truth of the things therein contained, be really fuch or not j fecond- 
ly, to judge what is the import of the teftimony given. For the 
former of thefe, firfl, the external evidences of Chriftianity ofTer 
themfelves to our examination, prophecy, miracles, human tefti- 
mony ; and then the internal, arifing from the charadler of the 
difpenfation itfelf, its fuitablenefs to the rational and moral na- 
ture of fuch a creature as man. As to the fecond point, the 
meaning of the revelation given ; if God has condefcended to 
employ any human language in revealing his will to men, he 
has, by employing fuch an inftrument, giveo us reafon to con- 
clude that, by the eftablilhed rules of interpretation in that lan- 
guage, his meaning mufl be interpreted. Otherwife the ufe of 
the language could anfwer no end, but either to confound, or to 
deceive. If the words of God were to be interpreted by ano- 
ther fet of rules than that with which the grammar of the lan- 
guage, founded in general ufe, prefents us ; with no propriety 
could it be faid, that the divine will is revealed to us, till there 
were a new revelation furnifhing us with a key for unlocking 
the old. This confideration points to the neceffity of the gram- 
matical art, and of criticifm, by means of which, readers, efpecially 
of a diftant age and country, muft arrive at the requifite proficiency 
in the language. As to both thefe, it is evident that the facred 
writers addrefs themfelves to our reafon. Why^ faid our Lord, 
Luke xii. 57. even of yourfelves, judge ye not what ii right? 
And the Apoftle Paul, 1 Cor. x. 15. I /peak as to wife men^ 
judge ye what I fay. With the firft, the evidences of the truth 
of our religion, 1 am not here concerned. The great defign of 
this work is, to deliver with plainnefs, in our own tongue, a very 
eflential part of what was, more than feventeen centuries ago, 
communicated in another tongue, to the inhabitants of coun- 
tries remote from ours. It was- in order the more efFedually 



to anfvver this end, particularly, to remove all prejudices and 
prepoiTefTions which might prove obftruftions in the way, that I 
determined, on refledion, to add to the Verlion, the Preliminary 
Differtations, and the Notes. 

The neceffary aids for acquiring the knowledge of an ancient 
and foreign tongue, are more or fewer, according to the circum- 
flances of the cafe. The diflance of time and place, and the 
great difference, in refpecl of culloms, manners, and fentiments, 
between thofe to whom the facred writers firft addrefled them- 
felves, and the prefent inhabitants of this ifland, could not fail 
to occaiion our meeting with fome difficulties. And, although 
it cannot be juftly doubted, that a good deal of light has been 
thrown on feme points, by the labours of former critics ; it can 
as little be denied that, by the fame means, many things have 
been involved in greater darknefs. In other critical inquiries, 
wherein religion is not concerned, there is little to bias the judg- 
ment in pronouncing on what fide the truth lies. But where 
religion is concerned, there are often, not only inveterate preju- 
dices, but fecular motives, to be furmounted, to whofe influence 
few can boaft an entire fuperiority. Befides, I ffiall have an 
opportunity to obferve, in the fequel, that, in what relates to this 
fubjedl, there has come a gradual change on the meaning of 
many words, confequent on the changes which have been gra- 
dually introduced into the church, in religious ceremonies, modes 
of government, and formularies of doctrine. Old names are 
given to things comparatively new, which have, b}^ infenfible 
degrees, arifen out of the old, and have at laft fupplanted them. 

To trace fuch changes with accuracy, is an effential quality of 
philology. A tranflator, when he finds that the words ufed by 
former tranflators, though right at firft, have fince contrafted a 
meaning different from that in which they were originally employ- 
ed, fees it necefTary, that he may do juftice both to his author 
and to his fubjeift, to fubftitute fuch terms as, to the befl of his 
judgment, are adapted to convey thofe fentiments, and thofe only, 
intended by the author. When a change is made from what 
people have been long accuftomed to, it is juiily e>:pe6led that 
the reaion, urdefs it be obvious, fliould be affigned. Hence arifes 
the propriety ol Jcholia^ or notes, both for vindicating the verfion, 
a.nd for fupplying further information, which, if not neceffary to 
all, is, to moll readers, highly ufeful. The frequent allulions to 
rites, cufloms, and incidents, well known to the natives of the 
writer's country, and to his contemporaries, render fuch occafion- 
al illuftrations, as can be given in the notes, very expedient for 
tliofe of diliant lands and ages. Ic is not on account of any pecu- 
liar obfcurity in facred writ, that more has been judged requifite 
ill this way, with regard to it than with regard to any other wri- 
tmgSi but partly on account of certain peculiarities in the cafe, and 




partly on account of the fuperior inaportance of the fubje£l. Of 
both thefe I Ihall have occafion to take notice in the Preliminary 
DilTertations. There is a further ufe in bringing additional 
light for viewing thefe fubjefts in, though Ave admit that the 
light ablolutely neceflary vi^as not deficient before. To brightea 
our perceptions is to flrengthen them ; and to flrengthen them, 
is to give tliem a firmer hold of the memory, and to render 
them more productive of all the good fruits that might naturally 
be expedted from them. The moil we can fay of the bed illuf- 
trations which, from the knowledge of Chriilian antiquity, critics 
have been enabled to give the facred text, is like that which the 
ingenious author of Polymetis fays, in regard to the utility of 
his enquiries into the remains of ancient fculpture and paint- 
ing, for throwing lis[ht upon the claiTics. '* The chief ufe," 
fays he. Dialogue VI. " I have found in this fort of fludy, 
** has not been fo much in difcovering what was wholly un- 
** known, as in ftrengthening and beautifying what was known 
*' before. When the day was fo much overcaft juft now, you 
" faw all the fame objedts that you do at prefent ; thefe trees, 
" that river, the fored on the left hand, and thofe fpreading 
** vales to the right : but now the fun is broke out, you fee all 
*' of them more clearly, and with more pleafure. It fhows 
" fcarce auy thing that you did not fee before ; but it gives a 
** new life and lullre to every thing that you did fee." 

But it cannot be denied, that, on this fubje£l, many 
things have been advanced, in the way of illuflration, which 
have ferved more to darken, than to illuminate, the facred pages. 
I have great reafon to think that, in my refearches into this 
matter, I have been impartial ; but, whether I have been fuc- 
cefsful, is another queftion ; for, though partiality in the me- 
thod of conducing an enquiry, fuiliciently accounts for its prov- 
ing unfruitful, the utmoft impartiality will not always enfure 
fuccefs. There are more confiderations which, in a work of 
this kind, mull be taken into view, than even readers of dif- 
cernment will at ilrft have any anprehcnfion of. Several of the 
changes here adopted, in tranilating both words and idioms, 
will, I know v.'ell, upon a fuperficial view, be judged erroneous ; 
and many of them will doubtlefs be condranned as frivolous, 
■which, it is to be hoped, will, on deeper refieftion, be admitted, 
by well informed judges, both to be more appoiite in themielves, 
and to render the matter treated more perfpicuous. 

In illuftrating the principles on which fome of the changes 
here made are founded, a great deal more, in the way of critical 
difcuflion, was found necelTary, in order to do juftice to the argu- 
ment, than could, with propriety, be thrown into the notes. A 
conviction of this, tirft fuggefted the defign of difcuffing fome 
poini^s more fully in preliminary diffeitatious. This, however. 
Vol. 1. ' C is 

ivlli PREFACE. 

is not the only ufe which thefe difcouvfes were intended to an- 
fwer. Though there has appeared, fince the revival of letters 
in the Well, a numerous lift of critics on the Bible, little has 
been done for afcertaining the proper, and, in fome refpeft, pe- 
culiar, rules of criticifing the facred books ; for pointing out the 
difHculties and the dangers to which the different methods have 
been expofed, and the moft probable means of furmounting the 
one, and efcaping the other. Something in this way has been 
attempted here. Bcfides, I have been the more free in applying 
my philological remarks in thefe difcourfes, to various paflages 
in the other apoftolical writings, as 1 had a more extenfive view 
in tranflating, when I firft engaged in it, than that to which at 
la ftl found it neceffary to confine myfelf. 

I have endeavoured, in the interpretations given, to avoid, 
with equal care, an immoderate attachment to both extremes, 
antiquity and novelty, i am not confcious that 1 have in any 
inftaace, been inclined to difguife the falfity of an opinion, be- 
caufe ancient, or with partial fondnefs, haftily to admit its truth, 
becaufe new. That an opmion is the opinion of the multitude 
is, to fome, a powerful recommendation ; to others it appears 
an infallible criterion of error ; to thofe who are truly rational 
it will be neither. There are, indeed, many cafes wherein an- 
tiquity and univerfality are evidences of fome importance. It 
has been, all along, my intention never to overlook thefe circum- 
ftances, where they could be urged with propriety ; for Certain 
it is, that Angularity is rather an unfavourable prefumption. 
But I hope that, with the help of fome things which are treated 
in the Preliminary DilTertations, the intelligent and candid read- 
er will be convinced, that nowhere have I more efFedually re- 
ftored the undifguifed fentiments of antiquity, than whei-e I em- 
ploy expreffions which, at firft fight, may appear to proceed 
from the afFeftation of novelty. I have, to the utmoft of my 
power, obferved the injunilion which God gave to the prophet 
Jeremiah, Jer. vi. 16. I have^ood in the ways ; I have looked 
and ajkedfor the old paths. And if, in this refearch, I have, 
in any inftaiices proved fuccefsful ; men of difcernment will, I 
am perfuaded, be fenfible, that nov.^here have I been luckier in 
conveying the genuine conceptions of the moft venerable anti- 
quity, than in thofe places which, to a fuperficial examination, 
will appear, in point of language, moft chargeable with innova- 
tion. The very comitiand, to look and to aik for the old paths, 
implies that it may happen that the old paths are deferted, con- 
fequently untrodden, and known, comparatively, to very few. 
In that cafe, it is manifeft that the perfon who would recom- 
mend them, runs the riik of being treated as an innovator. 
This charge, therefore, of affefting novelty, though very com- 
mon, muft be, of all accufations, the moft equivocal j fince, in 



certain circumftances, nothing can more expofe a man to it, than 
an inflexible adherence to antiquity. 

I ma}', in this ivork, have erred in many things ; for to err 
is the Tot of frail humanity 5 and no merely human production 
ever was, or ever will be, faultlefs. But I can fay, with confi- 
dence, that I have net erred in any thing eflential. And wliere- 
fore am I thus confident ? Becaufe I am confcious that I have 
affiduouily looked and slked for the old paths ; that I have 
fought out the good way ; that I might, at all hazards, both 
walk therein myfelf, and recommend it to others : and becaufe 
I believe the word of the Lord Jefus ; IVhofoever will do thc' 
ivill of God^Jhall know of the doBrinc, whether it be of God, 
John vii. 17. This I think a fufficient fecurity, that no perfon, 
who is truly thus minded, fhall err in what is eflential. In 
what concerns the vitals of religion, reftitude of difpofition goes 
farther, even to enlighten the mind, than acutenefs of intellecl, 
however important this may be, in other refpefts. But the 
exercife of no faculty is to be defpifed, that can be rendered, in 
any degree, conducive to our advancement in the knowledge of 
God. Nay, it is our duty to exert every faculty in this acquili- 
tion, as much as poflible. 

In an age like the prefent, wherein literary produ£Vions are fo 
greatly multiplied, it is not matter of wonder, that readers, when 
they hear of any new work, enquire about what, in modern 
phrafe, is called the originality of the thoughts, and the beauties 
of flyle it poiT-'fles. The prefs teems daily with the labours of 
the learned. Plenty in this, as in every other commodity, makes 
people harder to be pleaied : hence it happens that authors are 
fometimes tempted, for the fake of gratifying the over-nice and 
fallidious tarte of their readers, to affecl paradoxes, and to lay 
things extravagant and incredible, being more folicitous about the" 
newnefs, or even the uncommonnefs, than about the truth of their 
fentiments. Though I cannot help thinking thif preference 
injudicious, whatever be the fubj.ct, it is highly blameable 
in every thing wherein religion or morals are concerned. To 
this humour, therefore, no facrifice can be expecied here. The 
principal part of the prefeut work is tranflation. A trar.flator, 
if he do jnflice to his author and his fubjecl, can lay no claim 
to originality. The thoughts are the author's : The tranflator's 
bufinefs is co convey tliem unadulterated, in tne words of an- 
other language. To blend them with his fentiments, pr with 
any fentiments which are not the -uthor's, is to difcharge the 
hum.ble office of tranflstcr unfaithfully. In the tranflation here 
offered, I have endeavoured to conform ftriftly to this obligation. 
As to the remarks to be found in the DifTtrtations and Notes, 
nothing was farther from my purpcfe than, in an ,- inftance, to 
facrifice truth to novelty. At the fame time I will, on the other 



hand, frankly acknowledge that, if I ;had not thought myfclf 
qualified to throw fome light on this mofb important part of holy 
■writ, no confideration fhould have induced me to obtrude my 
refleftions on the Public. If I have deceived myfelf on this arti- 
cle, it is, at the worft, a misfortune which appears to be very 
incident to authors. But, if fome readers, for different readers will 
think differently, fhould find me, on fome articles, more charge- 
able with the extreme of novelty, than with that of tritenefs of 
fentiment ; I hope that the novelty, when narrowly examined, 
will be difcovered, as was hinted above, to refult from tracing- 
cut paths which had been long forfaken, and clearing the ancient 
ways of part of the rubbifh in which, in the traft of ages, they 
had unhappily been involved. Thofe who are profoundly read 
in theological controverfy, before they enter on the critical exa- 
mination of the divine oracles, if they have the difcernment to 
difcover the right path which their former {Indies have done much 
to prevent, and if ther have the fortitude to perfevere in keeping 
that path, will quickly be fenfible, that they have more to un- 
learn, than to iearn ; and that the acquilition of truth is not near 
fo diffi ult a tallc, as to attain a fuperiority over rooted errors 
and old prejudices. 

As to the expofition of the text, where there is thought to be 
any difficulty, it is leldomthat any thing new can be reafonably 
expecled. If, out of the many difcordant opinions of former ex- 
poiitors, I fhall be thought, by the judicious, to have generally 
chofen the beft (that is, the mofl probable), I have attained, in 
regavd to myfelf, my utmoft wifh. On this article, the exer- 
cife of judgment is requifite, much more than of ingenuity. 
The latter but too often mifleads. In adopting the interpretation 
of any former tranflator or expofitor, I commonly name the au- 
thor, if at the time he occur to my memory ; but not when the 
expofition has been fo long, and is fo generally, adopted, that it 
would be difficult to fay from whom it originated. Let it be ob- 
ferved, alfo, that when no perfon is named, I do not claim to be 
confidered as the difoverer mj'felf. A perfon will remember to 
have heard or read a particular obfervation or criticifm, though 
he does not recolledl from whom, or in what book ; nay, more, to 
reading and converfation we doubtlefs owe many fentiments, 
which are faithfully retained, when the manner vvherein they 
were acquired is totally forgotten. 

For my own part, 1 do not pretend to much reading in this 
way. I have noc been accuflomed to read whole commentaries. 
My way is (what I recommend to others, efpecially fludentsj, to 
confult them only occafionally, when, in reading, I meet with 
any di.'ficulty ; and not even then, till after other helps, particu- 
larly the various readino-s, the ancient verfions, the context, and 
the ufe of the facred writers in other pafTages, have been, with 



the aid of concordances, in vain recurred to. Some feem to 
make the whole ftudy of Scripture merely an exercife of me- 
mory ; in my opinion it confifts much more in the exercile of 
judgment and refleftion. It is oulv thus that we can hope to at- 
tain that acutenefs, and preferve that impartiality, in judging, 
which will fecure us agamft calling any man father upon earth. 
In. this way, we fhall avail ourfelves of the fervices of the beft 
expofitors, on different, and even oppofite, fides, without fubjed:- 
ing ourfelves to any. We may expecl to meet, in all of them, 
with faults and impc^feclions : but, if I can fafely reafon irom ex- 
perience, T do not hefitate to fay, that the leaft dogmatical, the 
jnoft diffident of their own jud>Tment, and moderate in their 
opinions of others, will be ever found the moft judicious. Thofe, 
on the contrary, who are either the idolaters of their own reafon, 
or blindly devoted to that of fome favourite doctor, to whom 
they have implicitly reCgned their undei ttandings, difplay as ofren 
the talent of darkening a clear palTage, as of enlightening a dark 
one. However I am far from thinking that even fuch mav not 
be fometimes confulted with advantage. Confiderable abilities 
are often united in the fame perfon with confiderabie defeds. 
And whatever a man's prepofleffions in point of opinion may be, 
there are fome things in Scripture which cannot be faid to have 
any relation to them. In regard to all fuch, it may juftly bs 
expected, that learning and talents will produce forne light. There 
are few, therefore, who have really the advantages of literature 
and abilities, who, whatever be the party or fyftem to which they 
have attached themfelves, may not occafionally prove ufeful 

For the readings here adopted, I have been chiefly indebted 
to the valuable folio edition of the Greek New Tellament pub- 
liflied by Mill, and that publifhed by Wetftein, but withour 
blindly following the opinion of either. In the judgments 
formed by thefe editors, with refpeft to the true reading, they 
appear to be in extremes, the former often acquiefces in too little 
evidence, the latter requires too much. This, at leaft, holds in 
general. But whether I agree with, or differ from, either, or 
both of thefe, about any particular reading by which the fenfc 
is affected ; that every intelligent reader may judge for himfelf, 
I commonly afign my reafon in the notes. I do not, therefore, 
mean to enter farther into the fubjeft, or to examine the critical 
canons on which they fouud, or the opinions they have 
given on the comparative excellence of different manufcripts and 
verfions. What has been written on this fubjecl by Simon, 
Bengelius, Michaelis, and others, render any difcuffion here the 
lefs neceffary. 

For the ancient verfions, where it appeared proper, I have 
had recouife to Walton's Polyglot j of fome, as the Syriac, the 

' Gothic, 

Xxii r R E T A C Er. 

Gothic, or as it is now with greater probability accounted, the 
Frank-iih, the Anglo-Saxon, the modern Greek, and the Vul- 
gate, I have copies, as well as of all the modern tranflations quoted 
in this work. All the late Englilli tranflations, of any account, I 
had provided. There is indeed one, or perhaps two, that I have 
not met with, about which, to fay the truth, from the accounts I 
have had of tiieir plan and method, and from fome fpecimens, I 
have not felt much folicitude. 1 am, however, far from faying 
that thefe may not alfo have their ufe, and be, in expre fling 
fome things, luckier than verfions which are, on the whole, fu- 

As to tae language, particularly of the verfioa itfelf, ilmpli- 
city, propriety, and perfpicuity, are the principal qualities at 
which I nave aimed. I have endeavoured to keep equally clear 
of the frinpery of Arias, and the finery of Caftalio. If I hav^ 
hazarded, on any occafion, incurring the cenfure of the generali- 
ty of readers, on account of the di£lion, 1 am certain it is ia 
thofe places where, from a defire of conveying neither more nor 
lefs than the exact thought of the author, I have ventured to 
change fome expreflions to which our ears have been long acuf- 
tomed. But on this point I mean to fay nothing further iu 
this place. The reafons on which I have proceeded, in fuch al- 
terations, are fully explained in the preliminary difcourfes, which 
I confider as fo necefTary to the vindication of many things in 
the tranflation, that I do not wiih the judicious reader, if, in any 
degree, acquainted with the original, to read the Verfion, till 
he has given thefe Diflertations a very attentive and ferious 

As I have never yet feen a tranflation of the Bible, or of any 
part of it, into any language I am acquainted with, which I did 
not think might be, in feveral places, altered for the better,! am 
not vain enough to imagine that the verfion here prefented to the 
public will, by any clafb of readers, be accounted faultiefs. Part 
of rhis work has long lain by me in manufcript ; for I may juft- 
ly fay of it what Auguflin, if I remember right, fays of one of 
his treatifes, 'Juvenis inchoavi, fenex edidi. Now, in that part I 
have been making correftions, or at lead alterations, every year; 
and I have no reafon to doubt that, if it were to lie longer by 
me, I fhould Hill be altering and corredling. As I am not an 
implicit follower of any man, becaufe I think no man can plead 
nn exemption from either faults in pra£lice, or errors in opinion, 
I am, at the fame time, far from arrogating to myfelf a merit 
which I refufe to acknowledge in others. It is not difficult to 
make me diftruffc my own judgment, and impartially re examine 
my own reafoning. \ fay impnrtinUy, becaufe I am confcious 
th3t I have often, in this manner, revifed what I had advanced, 
wl^n I found that it was objefted to by a perfon of difcernment ; 



&ndj iti confequence of the revifal, I have been convinced of my 
mifiake. I will venture to promile thereiore, that 1 fhall give 
all due attention to any ciiticilms or remarks, candid or uncan- 
did, which ihall be made on any part of this work. Criticifms 
made in an uncandid manner may, as to the matter of them, be 
well founded, and, on that account, deferve attention. But if 
there appear neither reafon in the matter of the criticifm, nor 
candour in the manner of producing it, the moll prudent part in 
an author is to let it pafs without notice. 

If the language of the tranHation, in the fecond volume, fliall be 
thought not unfuitable, and fufficientlj perfpicuous, I have, in 
what concerns the exprefiion, attained my principal objeft. The 
reft, I imagine, will be intelligible enough to thofe who are con- 
verfant in queftions of Chriltian antiquities and criticifm. Sen- 
fible of the difadvantages, in point ot ftyle, which my northern 
fituation lays me under, I have availed mjlelf of every opportu- 
nity of better information, in regard to all thofe terms and 
phrafes in the verfion, of which 1 was doubtful. 1 feel myfelf 
under particular obligations on this account to one gentleman, 
my valuable friend and colleague, Dr Beattie, who, though lirai- 
larly fituated with myfelfi, has, with greater fuccefs, ftudied the 
genius and idiom ci. our language ; and of whom it is no more 
than juftice to add, that the acknowledged purity of his own 
diftion is the leaft of his many qualifications as an author. But 
if, notwithftanding ail the care 1 have taken, I ihall be found in 
many places to need the indulgence of the EngiiQi reader, it will 
not much furprife me. One who often reviles and alters, will 
fometimes alter for the Worfe ; and, in changing, one has not al- 
ways at hand a friend to confult with. The apology which Ire- 
neus, biihop of Lyons in GauL, in the fecond century, makes for 
his language, in a book he publilhed in defence of religion, ap- 
pears to me fo candid, fo modelt,fo fenfible, and at the fame time 
fo appofite to my own cafe, that I cannot avoid tranfcribing and 
adopting it : — " Non autem esquires a nobis qui apud Celtas 
'* commoramur, et in barbarum fermoieai plerumque avocamur, 
" orationis artem quam non didicimus, neque vim confcriptoris 
*' quam non afFeclavimus, neque ornamentum verborum, neque 
*• fuadelam quam nefcimus : fed fimpliciter et vere et idiotice, ea 
'* quae tibi cum dileftione fcripta funt, cum dileftione percipies ; 
** et ipfe augeas ea penes te, ut magis idoneus quam nos, quafi 
" femen et initia accipiens a nobis ; et in latitudine fenfus tui, in 
*' multum fruftificabis ea, quie in paucis a nobis dicla funt ; et 
*' potenter afferes iis qui tecum funt, ea quae in\'^lide a nobis re- 
" lata funt." — Adverfus Hsrefes, Lib. i. Prefatio. 

Need I, in fo late and fo enlightened an age, fubjoin an apolo- 
gy for the defign itfelf, of giving a new tranflation of any part 
of Scripture ? Yet there are feme knowing and ingenious men. 


who fcem to be alarmed at the mention of tranflation, as if fuch 
an attempt would fap the very foundations of the Chriftian edi- 
fice, and put the faith of the people in the mofl imminent danger 
of being buried in its ruins. This is no new apprehenfion. The 
fame alarm was taken fo early as the fourth century, when Je- 
rom was employed in preparing a new tranflation of the Bible 
into Latin ; or, at leaft, in making fuch alterations and correc- 
tions on the old Italic, as the original, and the beft Latin manu- 
fcripts, fhould appear to warrant. The people in general ex- 
claimed ; and even the learned w-ere far from applauding an at- 
tempc which, in their judgment, was fo bold and fo dangerous. 
1 do not allude to the abufe thrown out by Ruffinus, becaufe he 
was then at variance with Jerom on another account ; but even 
men, v.ho were coniidered as the lights of the age, w'ere not 
without their fears. Auguflin, in particular, who admired the 
profound erudition of Jerom, and had a high efteem of his ta- 
lents, yet dreaded much, that the confequence of fuch an under- 
taking would prove prejudicial to the authority of Scripture, 
and did not hefuate to exprefs his difapprobation in very ftrong 
terms. That interpreter, however, perfevered, in fpite of the 
greateft difcouragements, the diiluafion of friends, the invedives 
of enemies, and the unfavourable impreffions which, by their 
means, were made upon the people. The verfion was made and 
publiflied ; and thofe hideous bugbears of fatal confequences, 
which had been fo much defcanted on, were no more heard of. 

Luckily, no attempt was made to eflablifh the new ver- 
fion, by public authority. Though Damafus, then bifliop of 
Rome, was known to favour it, the attempt to obtrude it upon 
the people, would probably have awaked fuch a perfecution 
againfl it, as would have ftified it in the birth. On the con- 
trary, its fuccefs was left entirely, as it ought to be, to the effi- 
ciency of its own merit. In confequence of this, the prejudice 
verv loon fubfided : many of thofe who were at fivlt declared ene- 
mies of the undertaking, were entirely reconciled to it. Auguftin, 
himfelf, came to be convinced that it was guiltlefs of thofe hor- 
rors which his warm imagination had foreboded. Nay, he did 
not fcruple to recur to it for aid, in explaining the Scriptures. 
The verfion, thus quietly introduced about the end of the fourth, 
or the beginning of the fifth, century, and left to its fate, to be 
ufed by thofe who liked it, and ne^leded by thofe who difliked 
it, advanced in reputation every day. The people very foon, 
and very generally, difcovered that, along with all the fimplicity 
they could defire, it was, in ever}" rcfped:, more intelligible, and, 
confequently. both more ir.Rruclive, and more agreeable, than 
the old. The immediate ttu-cl of this general conviction, w^as 
ereatly to multiply the copies, which proved, in a very few cen-. 
luries, the lDtv^! extiii6lion of the Italic, formerly called the Vul- 


rate, verfion, and the eftablifliinent of the prefent Vulgate, of 
Jerom's tranflation in its room. To make this fadden revolu- 
tion, which is a matter of fo much importance, better underllood 
by the unlearned, it is proper to obferve, that it was in confe- 
quence of no law of the church, or indeed of any Chriftian coun- 
try, that the old Italic firft, and the prefent Vulgate afterwards, 
were ufed in churches in the offices of religion. Such matters 
were regulated in every individual church, by the bifhop and 
prelbyters of that church, as appeared moll for the edification of 
the people. Now the general and grov/ing reputation of the new 
verfion, made it foon fupplant the old. As it was not to any 
law of church or (late, that the Italic owed its promotion at firft; 
lo it required no law of either to make it give place quietly to a 
better verfion. After rhis of Jerom had come gradually to ob- 
tain every where the preference, and to be ufed in private fami- 
lies by individuals, it might be expelled that fo general an ap- 
probation would gradually ulher it into the churches. For an 
authoritative fentence, of either pope or council, in favour of 
any tranflation, was a thing unheard of till the i6th century, 
when the decree of the council of Trent was obtained in favour 
of the prefent Vulgate. Now the Vulgate, we may obferve by 
the way, had been, for ages before, by the tacit confent of all 
ranks, in full poflellion of all the prerogatives conferred by that 

But, though the introdu£l:ion of a new tranilatlon produced 
none of thofe terrible confequences which had been prefaged ; 
though, on the contrary, by rendering the ftyle of Scripture 
purer, as well as more perfpicuous, it cam.e foon to be read by 
the people with greater pleafure and improvement ; yet it mud 
be owned, that the clamour and jealoufies that had been raifed 
on this fubjecl, were produclive of one very unfavourable efrecl 
upon the interpreter. Though it did not make him defift from 
his undertaking, it made him profecute it with a timidity which 
has proved hurtful to the work itfelf. Many things which, by 
the old interpreter, had been improperly rendered ; many things 
which had been obfcurely, or even unintelligibly exprefled, Je- 
rom, through dread of the fcandal which too many changes might 
occafion, has hft as he found them. We have, therefore, the 
utmoftreafon to conclude, that to this caufe alone it is- imputable, 
that the prefent Vulgate is not greatly fuperior ro what we find 
it. Jerom was ftrongly imprefied with a fenfe of the danger to 
which his attempt espoled him. This appears from many parts 
of his writings 5 particularly from his letter to Pope Damafcus, 
prefixed to the Tranflation of the Gofpels : — " Periculofa pre- 
*' fumptio," fays he, '^ judicare de caeteris, ipfum ab omnibus 
*' judicandum : fenis mutare linguam, et canefcentem mundum 
" ad initia retrahere parvulorum. Quis, enim, do£lus paritervel 

Vol. I. D "'indodus ; 


" indo£kus ; cum in manus volumen afTumpferit ; et a faliva quaai 
" femel imbibit, viderit difcrepare, quod leftitat ; non ftatitn 
** erumpat in vocem, me falfarium, me damans effe facrilegum, 
" qui audeam aliquid in veteribus libris, addere, mutare, corri- 
" gere." 

How difmal were the apprehenfions which were entertained 
immediately after the Reformation, on account of the many 
tranflations of Scripture which came in quick fuccefTion, one af- 
ter another ! Have men's fears been juftified by the effeft ? Quite 
the reverfe. The violent concuflion of parties at the Reforma- 
tion produced, as might have been expeSed, a number of con- 
troverfies, which were, for fome time, hotly agitated ; but the 
greater part of thefe were in being before thofe verfions were 
made. And if a few have arifen fince, many have fubfided, 
•which once made a great noife, and produced a great ferment 
in the church. Nothing will be found to have conduced more 
to fubvert the dominion of the metaphyfical theology of the 
fchoolmen, with all its interminable queftions, cobweb diftinc- 
tions, and wars of words, than the critical ftudy of the facred 
Scriptures, to which the modern tranflations have not a little 
contributed. Nothing has gone farther to fatisfy reafonable men 
that, in many of the profound difputes of theologians, revela- 
tion could not, with juftice, be accufed of giving countenance to 
eitner fide. Yet no difputes have been produdlive of' more ran- 
cour in the difputants, or been carried on with greater virulence, 
than thofe which are merely verbal. 

It has been faid, that the introduclion of different tranflations 
tends to unfettle men in their principles, particularly with re- 
gard to the authority of facred writ, which, fay they, is made to 
fpeak fo varioufly in thefe produftions. For my part, I have 
not difcovered that this is, in any degree, the effect. The agree- 
ment of all the tranflations, as to the meaning in every thing of 
principal confequence, makes their differences, when properly 
confidered, appear as nothing. They are but like the inconfider- 
able variations in expreffion which different witnefTes, though all 
perfectly unexceptionable, employ in relating the fame fa6t. 
They rather confirm men's faith in Scripture, as they Ihew, in 
the flrongeft light, that all the various ways which men of dif- 
cordant lentiments have devifed of rendering its words, have 
made no material alteration, either on the narrative itfelf, or on 
the divine inftrudlions contained in it. People are at no lofs to 
difcover, that the difference among interpreters lies chiefly in 
this, that one renders the account of things which that book ex- 
hibits, more intelligible, more perfpicuous, or even more affeft- 
ing, than another. Thefe differences are, I acknowledge, of 
great moment to readers ; they are fuch as may fhew one verfion 
to be greatly fuperior to another in point of ufe j yet, as they are 



all compatible with juftnefs of reprefentation in every thing ef- 
fential to the hiftorical and didaftic parts of the work, they are 
fo far from affecling the Ciedibility of the whole, that they ferve 
not a little to confirm it. A gentleman, who knows neither 
Greek nor Hebrew, but underftands Latin, and feveral modern 
tongues, told me once, he had read the New Teftament In diffe- 
rent languages, and that he had reaped confiderable benefit from 
the praftice in more ways than one ; particularly in this, that 
thofe verfions ferved as vouchers for the fidelity of one another, 
by their concurrence in every thing effential in that book ; for 
when it was confidered that the tranflators were not only men of 
different nations, but of hoftile fe6ls, Roman Catholics, church 
of England men, Lutherans, Calvinifts, Remonftrants, Sec. their 
perfeft harmony on all material points, is the beft pledge we 
could defire of their veracity. 

Of nearly the fame kind and confequence have been the fears 
which even judicious men have entertained about the publica- 
tion of the various readings of the Scriptures. Thefe readings 
are tremendous only when confidered in a general view, and 
when we are told of the number they amount to. Nothing 
ferves more to undeceive us, than to confider them, in detail, and 
fairly examine thofe colledlions. I will acknowledge, for one, 
that I believe I fhould not have been eauly perfuaded till I made 
the experiment, that the authority of Scripture could be fo little 
injured by them. The adlual colle(5lion is, therefore, of great 
confequence for fatisfying candid and reafonable men, that there 
is nothing in them fo formidable as the vague and general repre- 
fentations of their number and weight would lead men to con- 
clude. Now, if fuch a man as Dr Whitby, a man of diftin- 
guiihed learning and abilities, was alarmed at Mill's publication, 
as dangerous to the caufe, not only of Proteflantifm, but of Chri- 
ftianity itfelf, we need not be furprifed that men of inferior ta- 
lents, and lefs acquainted with the fcience of criticifm, fhould 
look on the edition of the Old Teftament by Kennicot, or of the 
New by Mill, or by Wetftein, as, at leaft, a very hazardous ex- 
periment. Yet, now that the experiment has been made, is there 
any appearance of thofe evils which have been dreaded from it ? 
1 am not fenfible that there is. It is true, that Kennicoi's pu- 
blication of the Old Teftament is fo recent, that we have fcarce- 
ly yet had time to difcover i^s confequences ; but if we may 
judge from the reception given to the New, we have no ground 
to fear them. Mill's work has been now in the hands of the 
Public for more than half a century, and Wetftein's for not much 
lefs. Yet it is not in my power to difcover that, in the judg- 
ment of any reafonable man, or even in the judgment of the peo- 
ple, the caufe of Chriftianity has fuffered by thefe publications. 
I know that the moft enlightened readers have judged them to 



be, in many refpe£Vs, of fervice to the caufe ; and the opinion of 
the moll enlightened, where there is no interference of lecular 
motives, or of violent meafures, will always prove at laft the 
opinion of the generality. 

Soon after Mill's edition appeared, which was about the be- 
ginning of the laft century, the various readings of the New 
Teflament became a topic for declamation to fceptics and free- 
thinkers. There needed but a little time, in which men might 
canvafs thofe variations, to convince every perfon who refiefted, 
that there was nothing terrible in the cafe. Accordingly, he 
would now be deemed but a forry advocate for the infidel hypo- 
theiis, who fnould have recourfe to an argument which, if allow- 
ed to have any validity, would fubvert our belief in all hiftory 
whatever, as well as in that of the gofpels ; for the writings of 
the Old and New Teftament have not been expofed to more ha- 
zards from tranfcribers, than other ancient writings. Now, if any 
one fhould fay, We can believe nothing in ancient hiftory, on ac- 
count of the variations to be found in the different editions and 
tnanufcripts of the different authors, no man of common fenfe 
would think him fit to be argued v;ith. Yet there is one reafon, 
■without recurring to a miraculous interpofition, to think, that we 
bave more fecurityof a faithful tranfmiflion of the Scriptures, than 
of any compohtion merely human. The fuppofed facrednefs of 
ths former, ferves as a guard to them, and makes at leaft the 
greater part of tranfcribers afraid to rake thofe freedoms with 
them which they would, without fcruple, take with other wri- 
tings. The exceflive, nay, even fuperftitious fcrupulofity, which 
has given rife to fo many abfurdly literal verfions of Scripture, 
is a ftrong prefumption of the truth of what I fay. 

Thofe who confider religion as no other than a political en- 
gine, have reafon, I own, to be alarmed. But thofe, on the con- 
trary, who are perfuaded that the religion of Jefus is founded in 
trurb, and confequently divine, are inexcufable in their fears of 
canvafling it as much as poffible. It is falfehood, not truth ; it 
is guilt, not innocence, which ftudioufly excludes the light, and 
flies examination. This our reafon tekchcs ; this our religion 
alfo teaches. For ivhofoever doth evil, fays our Lord, John iii. 
20, 21. hateth the light^ and Jlntnmth zV, leji his deeds Jhculd he 
deteBed, But he who obeyeth the truth, cometh to, the light, that 
it may he tr.anifeji that his aBions are agreeable to God. Fears 
of this kind, in thefe latter ages, (for from the beginning they 
were not), originated with the Romanifts. The Proteftants 
thought they faw clearly the reafon of their apprehenfions on 
this fuhjeft, and were not furprifed at them. The meafures em- 
ployed by the party were all of a piece, and not badly fuited to 
the end they had in view. Such were their index expurgatorius^ 
their in(juifitions, their licenfers of books, their prohibitions, and 



ether methods, for difcouraging tranflations of the Scriptures, and 
for preventing the people's becoming acquainted with them. Of 
fuch meafures the lecret fprings, as well as the manifeft tenden- 
cy, furnifhed ample matter of declamation to the adverfaries of 
the Romiih ellablifliment. 

It is not with plealure that I add, but impartiality obliges me, 
for it is too true, that when matters in any place took, fuch a turn, 
as to throw the fecular power into the hands of any party of fuch 
adverfaries, thofe of that party too often betrayed a propenlity to 
recur to fome of the meafures the)^ had before fo univerfally and 
fo loudly reprobated. We may, however, now, with lome con- 
fidence, alFirm, that it is rather too late a period in the age of 
the world to think of fuch odious expedients. By the invention 
of printing, and by the many difcoveries and improvements 
which have extended the intercourfe of nations, the acquiiition 
of knowledge is, at prefent, fo much facilitated and accelerated, 
in all civilized countries, that it will not be checked in its pro- 
grefs, nor will truth be overborne, by thofe expedients which, 
were found fully fufficient for the purpofe formeriy. Nay, fo 
evident is this become, that even that formidable power v/hich 
fo long made ignorance a principal engine of government, feems 
compelled at length to ftiift her ground, and to appear among the 
foremoft in patronizing what muft conduce to the furtherance cf 

It is little more than two centuries fmce the authenticity of the 
Vulgate verfion was formally affirmed, by a decree of the coun- 
cil of Trent. Immediately after that fentence, it appears to 
have been the prevalent opinion of zealous Romanills, that that 
tranflation ought to be coniidered a^ iafpired, and confequently 
as abfolutely faultiefs. On this account, the champions of the 
party did not helitate to exalt it far above the original, which, 
though they acknowledged to have been infpired, they aiHrmed 
to have been, lince that time, miferably corrupted in palling 
through the hands of collators and cop:il3. In about a century 
after, how much more moderate the opinions, even of Romau.fts, 
were become, appears fufficiently from what we are informe.d of 
on this fubjedl in Simon's Critical Hiftory. The high ftjk, fo 
common with former theologians and controvertifts, was heard 
no more. All moderate and judicious Romanifts v^ere afhamfd 
of it. The prevalent opinion of fuch was then, what no reafon- 
able Proteftant will diffent from at this day, that, in every thing 
effential to the faith and pra£lice of a Chriftian, it was a good 
verfion, and might be fafely ufed. " Opinionum comm<*nta delet 
" dies." Let not the hand of power interfere ; let there be nei- 
ther bribes nor terrors to bias the mind on either fide ; and 
men of the moft oppofite faclions will foon become reafonable, 
and learn to underftand one anothsr. Free and fair difcuffion 



will ever be found the firmefl; friend to truth. At the time I 
fpeak of, the mofl moderate of the Roman Catholic party were, 
however, convinced that, in deference to the council's declaration, 
every true fon of the church, who purpofed to tranilate the Scrip- 
tures into the vulgar tongue, for the ufe of the people, ought 
to tranflate from the Vulgate verfion only. What then would 
thofe people have thought of a new tranflation into Latin, by one 
of their own priefls, from the original Hebrew and Greek ? 
They had feme fpecious grounds, I acknowledge, for confidering 
it as prefumptuous, at lead in the appearance which it has, of 
fetting up the opinion of an individual, in oppofition to the de- 
clared judgment of the church. Yet, in little more than half a 
century after the publication of the Critical Hiftory, another 
prieft of the oratory undertook, and, with the Pope's approba- 
tion, executed a new tranflation of the Old Teltament from the 
original into Latin, in which he corrects the errors of the Vul- 
gate, with as much freedom as any candid Proteftant could have 
done. Is there not reafon then to fay, that Rome feems to have 
changed her meafures ? How great was the encoiuragement which 
was given lately by the moll eminent perfonages in that church, 
to the labours of an Englifh Froteftant, who undertook to give 
tlie Public a more correft edition of the Hebrew Scriptures, with 
the various readings, than the Chriftian world had enjoyed be- 
fore ? 

But if Rome, from whatever motive it may arife, fliall now, 
at len^^th, judge it proper to contribute to the advancement of 
knowledge, and afllil in furnifhing the world with light and in- 
formation ; is it incum.bent on Proteftants, in oppofition to all 
their former maxims, to do their utmofl to with-hold the light, 
and Involve matters, as much as poflible, in darknefs ? Might it 
not, in that cafe, be juftly concluded, that they were aftuated, 
not by the love of truth, but by the fpirit of faction ; and that 
they had become at laft enemies to the light, finding, upon fur- 
ther inquiry, that the light was no friend to their caufe ? As no 
judiciuus Proteftant can ferioufly think that there is ground for 
fufpecling this, let not anyone acl as if he fufpedted it. If there 
were ground for fufpicion, this itfelf would be an additional rea- 
fon for inquiry ; unlefs we are abfurd enough to be more attach- 
ed to a feft than to truth ; and to have more of that bigotry, and 
implicit faith, which are of the tffence of fuperilition, than we 
have of genuine religion, which is ever found a reafonable fervice, 
and as completely amiable as the other is hateful. 

Yet, is there not, even in feme W'ho are the friends of truth, 
and the friends of freedom, who, in religion, as in other matters, 
would give fcope to inquiry and communication ; a fort of jea- 
loufy, on the article of tranflation, which m.akes them lefs equi- 
table, lefs candid, judges, in regard to it, than in regard to any 



Other matter that comes under their difcuflion ? They are jt^alons 
for the honour of the common verfion j and though they are far 
from afcribing any fupernatural power to the tranflators, they are 
afraid of the dete£tion of any error which might make that ver- 
fion fink in the opinion of the people. * This,' fay they, ' could 

* not be produdlive of a good efFeft, either on the faith of the 

* nation, or on their praflice ; for, as the people cannot be fup- 

* pofednice in dilHnguifliing, their Bible and their religion are to 

* them the fame thing. By dlfcrediting the one, ye injure the 

* other ; and, by introducing queilions about the proper render- 

* ing of a particular paffage, ye weaken the efteft of the whole.* 
As there is fome plaufibility in this method of arguing, 1 beg 
leave to offer a few more thoughts on the fubje£l. 

In every queftion relating to fac>, wliere experience may be 
had, our fafeft recourfe is to experience. Since the beginning 
of the fixteenth century, many Latin tranflations of the Bible, 
of very different characters, have been publiihed. Can we juft- 
ly fay that, by means of thefe, the authority of Scripture, among 
thofe who do not underftand the original, but are readers of 
thofe verfions, has been weakened, and fcepticifm has been pro- 
moted ? I do not think that, with any ihadow of reafon, this 
can be aflerted. If people will but refleft, they will foon be fen- 
fible, that it is not among the readers of Scripture, either in the 
original, or in tranflations, that thofe evils chiefly abound. But 
there aremany other fpecies of leading, and many other caufes to be 
traced, by which the effefts above mentioned may be amply ac- 
counted for. To me it is evident, that of all forts of reading 
and ftudy, that of the Scriptures is the mofl innocent of thofe 
evil confequences. So the facred writers, themfelves, have 
thought, by whom this reading is often and warmly recommend- 
ed, and not only reading the Scriptures, but fearching into them, 
and meditating on them. Now, thofe who ferioufly comply 
with thefe injun£lions, will never reje6t any aid by which they 
may be enabled to difcover what lies deeper than the furface ; 
lo, alfo, have thought thofe pious men celebrated in Scripture, 
as having drawn much profit and delight from this exercife. I 
would not fay fo much for the reading of theological controver- 
fy ; yet I would not that men, who liked this fpecies of reading, 
were reftrained from ufing it. The accidental bad confequences 
which may accrue to individuals, from any literary purfuit, are 
of no confideration, compared with the general advantage refult- 
ing from the liberty of fearch, and free communication of knov.- 
ledge. No perfon would think it better for the world that all 
men were enflaved, becaufe fome men make a very bad ufe of 
their freedom. 

On the firfl; publication of Erafmus' tranflatlon of the New 
Teftament into Latin, mucli offence was taken by many, and 



difmal apprehenfions were entertained of the hurt it would do to 
the caufe of religion and Chriftianity. Even men who were ef- 
teemed both moderate and judicious, feemed to think that it was, 
at leaft, a hazardous experiment. The experiment, however, 
has been tried, not only by him, but by feveral others fince his 
time. Yet there is not one, as far as I can learn, who has pre- 
tended to deduce from that, or any other tranflation, the irreli- 
gion and incredulity of the times. 

To come to our own cafe ; Have the attempts which have 
been made in this ifland, 1 may almofl fay, fince the days of 
WicklifF, to tranflate the Scriptures into Englifh, ever been 
fourd to lelTen their authority ? I have not heard this affirmed 
by any body. Yet every new verfion altered, and pretended to 
correfV, many things in thofe which had preceded. But 
whatever may be the private judgment of individuals, con- 
cerning the comparative merit of the different tranflations, 
we cannot difcover any traces of evidence, that their number 
did, in the fmalleft degree, derogate from the veneration for 
holy writ generally entertained by the people. Againft the 
common tranflation, in ufe at prefent, which was made and au- 
thorifed in the beginning of the reign of James the Firfl, there 
were precifely the fame exceptions taken, founded in the like 
apprehenfions of pernicious confequences. Whoever will con- 
fult the preface of that tranflation, and read the paragragh which 
is titled on the margin. The fpeeches and reafons both of our bre- 
thren and of our adverfaries againji this work ; will be furpri- 
fed to find how much they coincide with v>hat has been throwa 
out, of late, againU any new attempt of the fame kind. It is 
remarkable that, from the days of Jerom to the prefent, the 
fame terrible forebodings have always accompanied the under- 
taking, and vaniflied on the execution, infomuch that the fatal 
effects predicted, have never afterwards been, heard of. 

Now, to take the matter in another view ; the caufe aflugned 
is nowife adequate to the effeft. If the different ways of ren- 
dering one paflfage may make the unlearned doubtful with re- 
gard to the meaning of that paflTage, the perfeft harmony of the 
different interpreters, as far a^ regards the fenfe, in many more 
pafTages ; nay I mav juftly fay, in every thing that can be con- 
sidered as effential in the hiftory and doctrine, ferves as the itrong- 
efl confirmation of thefe in particular. The different tranflators 
are like fo many different touchftones. Thofe truths which caa 
ftand fuch numerous trials, are rendered quite indubitable. 1 
know not any, even of the common people that are poflefTed of 
an ordinary meafure of underftanding, who need to be told, that 
it is in the meaning, and not in the found, that the doftrine of the 
Gofpel lies : or, as theEnglifli tranflators have well exprefi'ed it : 
" Is the kingdom of God become words or fyllables ? Why 

« fliould 


*' fliould we be in bondage to them, if we may be free r" When 
people find thofe tranflations, though differing in words, yet in 
every thing material, agreeing in fenfe, they prove to them, as 
was hinted before, like fo many different witnelTes, each in his 
own flyle, and in his own manner, attefting the fame things, the 
great truths of our religion. They are witneffes, who perfectly 
agree in the import of their teflimony : their differences in ex- 
prefJion, far from derogating, in the judgment of any fenfible rea- 
der, from their veracity, ferve to ertablifh it, and, confequently, 
prove confirmations of the fadls atteiled. Various tranflations 
are, therefore, upon the whole, much better calculated for con- 
firming, than for weakening, the faith of the unlearned. 

Has the margin, in the Engliih Bible, which, in a very great 
number of pafTages, gives every reader his choice of different 
tranflations, ever been found to endanger the faith of the people ? 
or, has it ever been fuggefled to have the fame tendency v;ith 
the arguments of the deifts ? Yet what fhould more readily, 
upon the principles of thofe gentlemen with whom I am argu- 
ing, have produced this effecl, than the confeffion (for their mar- 
gin manifeflly implies no lefs) of thofe learned men who were 
employed in the work, of the numerous doubts which they had 
to encounter in the execution. They have honcftly told their 
doubts, and, as far as I know, were never fufpefted of having 
done any hurt to the caufe by this ingenuous conducl. On the 
other hand, I am forry to obferve men of knowledge, difcern- 
ment, and probity, appearing in fupport of meafures which feem 
to proceed on the fuppofition, that a fort of difingenuous policy 
niufl be ufcd with the people for the defence of the truth. How- 
ever neceffary diflimulation and pious frauds, as they are called, 
may be for the Aipport of falfe, I have never feen them of any 
fervice to true religion. If not treacherous, they are dangerous 
allies at the beft. 

That one verfion exprefles the fentiment more intelligibly^ 
more perfpicuoufly, or more emphatically than another, will in- 
deed occafion its being read with more pleafure, and even more 
profit ; but it will never, on that account, be confidered by any 
as giving a contradidory teflimony. Yet it is fuch oppofition of 
evidence that is the only cifcumflance which can affedt the vera- 
city of holy writ, and confequently the credit given to it by the 
people. And furely whatever can, on the contrary, be rendered 
conducive to the emolument of the reader, cannot be prejudicial 
to the caufe of religion, or difrefpedlful to the word of God, 
which does not confifl in the words of any tranflation, but in the 
dilates of the divine Spirit. 

The words of a tranflation that has been long in common .ufe, 
have an advantage, of which they cannot be of a fudden divefl- 
edv The advantage refults from this very circumflance, that it 

Vol. T. E has 

xxxlv r R r. F A C E. 

has been long in general ufe, and inen are familiarized to Its er-- 
preffions. But, notvvithflanding this, it may have confiderable 
faults ; it may, in feveral places, be obfcure ; and, though it 
fliould very rarely convey a falfe fenfe, it may be often ambigu- 
ous » In this cafe, a new v^rfion will be of great utility, if it 
were but for rendering the old more intelligible. For my part, 
I (hall think my labour more than fufficiently recompenfed,if, by 
the pious and the impartial, I (ball be judged to exprefs no ex- 
travagant opinion, and to form no pre "umptuous hope, when I 
fay, in the words which Erafmus employed on a fimilar occafion; 
" Ilia [Vulgata editio] legatur in fcholis, canatur in templis, ci- 
*' tetur in confcionibus, nullus obftat. Ilhid auiim polliceri, quif- 
*' quis banc noftram domi legerit, fuam reclius intelledurus."— 
Erafm. in Apolog. 

Some perhaps are ready to interpofe, * If tranllations were to 
' be ufed only as private helps for underftanding the Scriptures, 
' as commentaries and parapVirafes are ufed, they would not be ob» 

* je^e 1 to ; but v/hat has alarmed the minds of men on this article, 

* is ihat, of late, fome attempts have been made to perfuade the 
' public of the need there is for a new and more corretl tianflation 
' of the Bible, with the fanftion of the higher powers, for the ufe 
' of churches.' As to any projecl of this kind, I can fay very 
litde, as I know not, in particular, what is proje£ted. At the 
fame time I mufk acknowledge that, in the general view, it ap- 
pears to me a very delicate point. To ellablifh a verfion of 
Scripture by human authority., to be ufed by the people (with- 
out any regard had to their fentlments) in the public fervice of 
God, to the exprefs exclufion of every other verlion, is a mea- 
fure, about the propriety of which, at any time, I am far from 
being fatisfied. The public ufe of particular tranllations of the 
Bible in the churches, oriental and occidental, for many centuries, 
took its rife folely from the general ufe in private ; and to this 
private ufe, no doubt, the favourable opinion of the pallors, fuch 
efpecislly as were eminent for piety and learning, greatly contri- 
buted. But then, the efFe£l was produced gradually and tacitly; 
in confequence of which, it appeared the rcfult of the people's 
free choice, though not formally declared, well enough under- 
ftood. It was in this way, certainly, that the old Italic firft 
came into ufe in the Latin church ; and it was in this way, front 
the growing predilection of the people, that the prefent Vulgat<; 
carre at length to fupplant it. It was fortunate for the fuccefs 
of Jeroni's vtrfif)n, that no fanguine patron Hood forth to puib it 
inro ncticf , and that no law was made commanding its reception, 
a'ld proiiibitinc the public u.'"e of the Italic. Though mens opi- 
nions and attachments, even in matters which do not fo deeply 
alFecl: them as religion, canpot, at the cnmmand of a fuperior, be 
changed i:i a moment, the fame effedl will often, bv proper means, 



Ise prodaced in a gentle and gradual manner. When the Italic 
was firll introduced, there waa probably no other Latin tranilaticn 
of any account. In confequence of this, and of that denre of 
religious initrudion, which univerfally animated tlie primitive 
Chrirtians, they would receive it with joy. To read it to them, 
would be highly to gratify them ; for we ought to refieft, that 
books were then matters of very difficvilt acquirement, compared 
to what they are now. But when the introduction of one book 
was the difpolTeffion of another to which they had been long ac- 
cuiloraed, and were, from habit, warmly attached, the cale was 
very ditierent. Yet even this effeft, which it is probable would 
not have been produced b}- ilronger meatures, was filently, and 
(as it were) imperceptibly, brought about by time. If, in lome 
places, tumults were occalioned by the change, this, I fufpecf, 
when impartially examined, will he found imputable more to the 
raihnefs and imprudence of the pallors, than to any want ol do- 
cility in the people. Immediately after the Reformation, the 
opportunity was very favourable for procuring, among thofe who 
favoured the meafures of the Reformers, a welcome reception to 
any verfion of the Bible into the vulgar tongue, which had the 
approbation of the heads of the party. If gratiSed^in the thing 
chiefly wanted, they would not be critical as to the mode of in- 
troduction ; and if, from the changes in their rulers, there had 
been feme changes in relation to the Scriptures to be read in the 
congregation ; what was ellablillied, in forae places, was of fo 
fliort continuance, that the mind could hardly be faid to be pre- 
occupied by it. 

But the cafe, at prefent, is widely diiFerent. Learning is in 
more hands. Critics are multiplied. The prefs is open ; and 
every cavil, as well as every argument, is quickly circulated. 
Befides, the prepoiVeffion in favour of the tranflation to which we 
have been fo long habituated, is, at this day, very llrong. Add 
to all this, that the religious, as well as the civil, rigljts of man- 
kind were never better underftood ; the genuine principles of to- 
leration had never greater influence. Ho.v then fliould we be 
aiFecled, upon hearing that we are commanded, under pains and 
penalties, by our fuperiors, to read, and caufe to be read, in our 
churches, fuch a particular tranflation of the Bible only, and ne- 
ver more to admit into the facred fervice, that verflon to which 
we have been hitherto all our lives accuft:onjed, and for which 
we have contrafted a high veneration. For my part, I will not 
diflcinble the matter. I fhould think fuch a roeafure exceedino-- 
ly incongruous to the fpirit of that religion which the legiflators 
perhaps intended to ferve by it ; and no lefs unfeafonable, in re- 
fpeft of the age and country wherein we live. I perfectly agree 
with TertuUian, that religion and coercion of any kind, are ut- 
terly incompatible. *• Hunaani juris et naturalis poteftatis eft, 

" unicuique 


" unicuiqiie qucd pataverit, colere." Again : *' Nee religionis 
" eil cogere religionem, quae fponte fufcipi debeat, non vi." I 
cordially fubfciibe to the fentiment of Laftantius, who deems it 
eflential to the value of every thing in religious fervice, in re- 
fpe6t both of the objecl and of the mode, that it be voluntary : 
" Nihil eft tarn voluntarium quam religio, in qua fi animui facri- 
" ficantis averfus eft, jam fublata, jam nulla eft." Nor does it 
make any difference in the naiure of the thing, whether the 
power that wjould compel us be called civil or ecclefiaftical. 

But is there nothing then which can, with propriety, be at- 
tempted by the higher powers, fpiritual or temporal, for promo- 
ting the fuccefs of an accurate tranflation of the Bible ? The ut- 
moft which, in my judgment, can be done, if fuch a verfion 
fhould in any future period be offered to the Public, is to re- 
move the obftruclions which thofe powers have heretofore raifed 
to prevent its introduftion, and to permit (not comniand) the ufe 
of it wherever it ftiall be found agreeable to the people, and 
judged by the paftors to be edifying. In the reign of Chriftian 
charity, which fubiiiled in times truly primitive and apoftolical, 
it was not neceiTary that the limits of jurifdidion and authority 
fhould be fo accm^ately afcertaincd as afterwards, when love be- 
gan to give place to ambition and fecular profpefts. Efteem and 
love are unfurpicious. In fuch a ftate of things, the opinion of 
no perfons would go fo far with the congregation as that of their 
paftors ; nor would the paftors know any motive fo powerful as 
that of contributing to the edification of the people. * But,' it 
will be objected, ' to leave things in this manner, would appear 
like giving a fandion to different tranflations at the fame time.* 
If it ibould, I can perceive no abfurdity in fuch a fandlion ; no 
evil confequence that would follow from it. In faft, would it be 
any more, with refpeft to the whole Bible, than that which hag 
long obtained in England, with regard to one confiderable book, 
the Piulms, of which two very different verfion s, one in the Bible, 
the other in the Common Prayer, have equally the fanftion of 
the higher powers ? Are the people ignorant of this difference ? 
Thofe who know any thing of the religion of the country, who 
read their Bible at home, and attend tne fervice of the church, 
know it perfcdlly. Yet I have not heard ihat any private Chri- 
ftian was fcandalized at it ; much lefs, that any one pretended to 
deduce from this caufe the libertinifm and infidelity of the times. 
Yet, in no part of Scripture would the people have fo many op- 
portunities of remarking the variations, as in that book, which 
they hear in church not feldomer tiian twelve times a-year. So 
much cannot be faid of any other part of the facreji volume, the 
New Teftament being read only thrice a-year, and the Old 
Teftament but once. If the people were fo eafily alarmed as 
feme feem to imagine, how has it happened that the ftriking dif-, 



ferencc between the two authorifed tranflations above mentioned, 
have not, long ere now, raifed a clamour, either againil the com- 
mon tranflation, or againil the Common Prayer ? 

I ftiould not have thought it neceffary to fay any thing on this 
head, if the fubjeft had not been darted of late, and warmly 
agitated (I believe with the beft intentions on both fides) by 
fome learned and worthy men. As my fentiments on the fub- 
je6l do not entirely coincide with thofe of either party, I thought 
it incumbent to add the explanation now given. The publiftiing 
of a new tranflation is not to be confidered as implying a con- 
demnation of any that preceded. This was objefted to thofe 
employed by James the Firft, in preparing the tranflation ufed at 
prefent ; and the reply which thofe tranflators made to their op- 
ppnents in this bufinefs, as it had ferved Jerom before them, and 
ferved them, will equally ferve me, or any tranflator, who fliall 
afterwards befl;ow his time and labour in the fame way. " We 
^f anfwer them," fay they, " with St Hierom, Do ive condemn the 
" ancient ? In no cafe ; but, after the endeavours of them that 
" were before us, we take the beji pains we can in the houfe of 
** God. As if he faid. Being provoked, by the example of the 
*' learned that lived before my time, I have thought it my duty 
*' to aflay whether my talent in the knowledge of the tongues 
^* may be profitable, in any meafure, to God's church, leil I 
** fliould feem to have laboured in them in vain, and lefl; 1 fliould 
" be thought to glory in men (although ancient) above that 
" which was in them." So faid thofe worthy men, who, as they 
did not think themfelves precluded from making improvements 
on the valuable labours of their predeceflbrs, fhow fufficiently 
that they did not confider their own labours as fuperfeding all at- 
tempts at ftill farther improvements, by thofe who fliould come 
after them. 

The due confideration of the progreflive flate of all human 
knowledge and arts, will ever be unfriendly to the adoption of 
any meafure which feems to fix a barrier againft improvement, 
and to fay to fcience. Thus far fJmlt thou come, and no farther. 
And if, in matters merely of fcience, fuch meafures would prove 
hurtful, how much more in any thing wherein religion is con- 
cerned ? My opinion, therefore, on this queftion, I freely ac- 
knowledge, favours the removal of all legal reftraints, as much 
as poflible, and not barely the change of the objed. Indeed, 
this will be found the natural refult of the argument, as it has 
heretofore been conduced. There is not a topic, which the 
prefent adverfaries of an improved tranflation in Englifli employ 
now, which was not with the fame plaufibility employed againft 
Jerom's Latin tranflation, called the Vulgate, at prefent in uni- 
verlal ufe in the Latin church, and which was not alfo employed 
agaiiift the Englifli tranflation of James the Firft, that very ver- 



fion for which our adverfaries on this article now fo ftrenuoufiy 
contend- On the other hand, there was not any plea which Je- 
rom urged in fapport of his attempt, or which the Engli(h tranf- 
lators urged in fupport of theirs, that will not equally ferve the 
purpofe of any prefeat or future v.-ell meant attempt of the like 
kind, and confequently that does not ftrike againd every meafure 
which might elFedually preclude any fuch attempt in time to 

There are only two differences in point of circumftances, be- 
tween us and the inhabitants of this ifland, in the beginning of 
the lad century, which impartiality obliges me to mention, and 
which, as they render more delicacy requifite in thefe days than 
was necefTary in thofe, if at^-ended to, may prevent men from 
concluding too hailily, that thofe meafures cannot fail of fuccefs 
now, which have fucceeded formerly. Though fome verfions 
had been publicly authorized before that of James the Firft, none 
of them had been of near fo long (landing as that which is in 
nfe at prefent ; and confequently the people's attachment to any 
one of them was not fo much ftrengthened by habit, as the pre- 
fent attachment to tbe E,ngli(h Bible may be fuppofed to be, An 
alteration, therefore, in refpedl of the public ufe, might be a 
much more difficult attempt now than it was then. The other 
difference arifes from the confideration that the fpirit of liberty 
is much higher at prefent in the nation, than it was at that pe- 
riod ; the rights of confclence are better underllood, and the ab- 
furdity, as well as tyranny, of employing coercion in matters of 
religicMi, are al noft univerfally acknowledged. 

All thefe confiderations, whilft they give the utmoft encou- 
ragement to the ftudy of biblical criticifm, £how fufhciently the 
danger of all meafures that can be juOly accounted compul- 
fc-y, in a matter that fo nearly affecls the rights of confcience. 
For mv own part, it is enough for me, that common fenfe allures 
me, that, if God condefcends to fpsak to us mortals, it is our 
dut^ to attend to what he fays ; and if, in any writing, he has 
revealed his will to us, it is our duty carefully to read that wri- 
ting, and do our utmofl rightly to underftand it. The language 
of the Chriilian revelation, we quickly fee, concurs with that of 
reafon, in enjoining this pradlice ; nay, it excites us flill more 
ftroagly, bv the example it fets before us, of thofe who have 
found much comfort and improvement in it. Can I require 
ilronger motives to induce me to make God's word the fubjedl: 
of my ftudy and meditation, day and night ? And if I have rea- 
fon to think that, by the blelling of Heaven, 1 have been, in 
fome meafure, fuccefsful in this application of my time, does not 
our common Chriftianity, one of the great commandments of 
which is. Thou Jha/t love thy neighbour as thyfelf^ oblige me, 
for the benefit of others, to communicate any lights I may have 



received from this exercife ? When they are comiTiunicated, I 
have difcharged a Chriftian duty. The reception will be fuch 
as it pleafes Providence to give them. 

Though, in thefe voUimes, I have not affirmed any thing, as 
my opinion, which did not at the time, and does not flill, appear 
to me probable ; and though many things, in them, appear cer- 
tain, 1 defire nothing to be admitted, by the reader, upon my 
afhrmation : my wiQi is, that every thing may be candidly and 
deliberately examined ; that my reaions, which I commonly 
give, where the fubjeft requires it, may be impartially weighed, 
and the opinion adopted, or rejedled, as the reader, on due re- 
flexion, {hall find caufe. If to make profelytes by the fword, is 
tyranny in rulers, to rtfign our uiiaeriianding to any man, and 
receive, implicitly, what we ought to be rationally con\anced 
of, would be, on our part, the loweft fervility. Now, tyranny 
and fervility^ how much foever adapted to the genius of worldly 
domination, are by no means fuited to the heavenly charaOier of 
Ghrift's kingdom. The only means the gofpel itfelf permits us 
to employ, for promoting this fpiritual power, is perfuafioiiy 
which operates upon the underflanding, and, by it, upon the 
will and afFe£lions : the great engine of fecular dominion is 
force^ which, without regarding underlianding, will, or affec- 
tions, lays hold of the body. The language of our Lord to 
his hearers was. If any man will come under my guidance ; 
El rn 0EAEI oTiiffu (.in o.^io. Nothing is obtruded or forced upon 
the unwilling. Now, as the great fource of the infidelity of 
the Jews, was a notion of the temporal kingdom of the Mefliah, 
we may juflly fay, that the great fource of the corruption of 
Chriftians, and of their general defection, foretold by the infpi- 
red writers, has been an attempt to render it, in efteft, a tem- 
poral kingdom, and to fupport and extend it by earthly means. 
This is that fpirit of Antichrift, which was fo early at v/ork, as 
to be difcoverable even in the days of the apoftles. 

Every thing, therefore, here, is fubj-6led to the ted of Scrip- 
ture and found criticifm. I am not very confident of my ov/n 
reafonings. I am fenfible that, on many points, I have changed 
my opinion, and found reafon to correct what I had judged for- 
merly to be right. The ccnfcioufnels of former miitakes, proves 
a guard to prtferve me from fuch a prefumptuous confidence ia 
my prefent judgment, as v.'ould preclude my giving a patient 
hearing to v/hatever may be urged, from reafon or Scripture, in 
oppoiition to it. Truth has been, in all my inquiries, and ftill 
is, my great aim. To her I am ready to facrifice every perfonal 
confideration ; but am determined not, knowingly, to facrifice 
her to any thing. To Lucian's advice to the hiftoriographer, 
M«»v) bvriov TK xM^iix, which I have infcribed in the title, it is my 
intention facredly to adhere. 







Th^ Language and Idiom. 

If the words and phrafes employed by the apoftles and evah- 
gelifts, in delivering the revelation committed to them by the 
Holy Spirit, had not been agreeable to the received ufage of the 
people to whom they fpoke, their difcourfes, being unintelligible, 
could have conveyed no information, and confequently would 
have been no revelation to the hearers. Our Lord and his apof- 
tles, in pubiiihing the gofpel, firft addreffed themfelves to their 
countrymen the Jews ; a people who had, many ages before, at 
different periods, been favoured with other revelations. To 
thofe ancient Jewifh revelations, now colle£led into one volume, 
Chriftians give the name of the Old Teftament ; and thereby 
diftinguifli them from thofe apoflolical and evangelical writings, 
which, being alio coliefled into one volume, are called the New 
Xeftament. In the latter difpenfation, the divine authority of 
the former is prefappofed and founded on. The knowledge of 
what is contained in that introdudtory revelation, is always pr«- 
fumed in the readers of the New Teftament, which claims to 
be the confummation of an economy of God for the falvation of 
man ; of which economy the Old Teftament acquaints us with 
the occafion, origin, and early progrefs. Both are therefore in- 
timately conne6led. Accordingly," though the two Teftaments 
are written in different languages, the fame idiom prevails in 
both ; and in the hiftorical part at leaft, nearly the fame charac- 
ter of ftyle. 

Vol. L F §2. 


§ 2. As the writings of the Old Teftament are of a much 
earlier date, and contain an account of the rife and firft eftablifti- 
ment, together with a portion of the hiilory of the nation to 
whom the gofpel was firll promulged, and of whom were all its 
firft miflionaries and teachers, it is thence unqueftionably that we 
muft learn, both what the principal fafts, cuftoms, do6lrines, and 
precepts are, that are alluded to in the apoftolical writings, and 
what is the proper fignification and extent of the expreflions 
ufed. Though the New Teftament is written in Greek, an ac- 
quaintance with the Greek clafllcs (that is, with the writings of 
profane authors in that tongue in profe and verfe) will not be 
found fo conducive to this end, as an acquaintance with the an- 
cient Hebrew Scriptures. I am far from denying that claffical 
knowledge is, even for this purpofe, of real utility ; 1 fay only, 
that it is not of fo great utility as the other. It is well known 
that the Jews were diftinguifhed by all Pagan antiquity, as a na- 
tion of the moft extraordinary and peculiar manners ; as abfo- 
lutely incapable of coalefcing with other people, being aftuated, 
efpecially in matters wherein religion or politics were thought to 
be concerned, by the moft ururelenting averlion to every thing 
foreign, and the moft violent attachment to every thing national. 
We cannot have a clearer evidence of the juftnefs of this charac- 
ter, than their remaining to this day a diftin£l people, who, 
though they have been for many ages fcattered over the face of 
the earth, have never yet been blended in any country with the 
people amongft whom they lived. They are, befides, the only 
wandering nation that ever exifted, of which this can be affirmed. 
^ 3. Before the tribes of Judah ^nd Benjamin returned from 
captivity in Babylon to the land of their fathers, their language, 
as was inevitable, had been adulterated, or rather changed, by 
their fojourning fo long among ftrangers. They called it Heb- 
rew, availing themfelves of an ambiguous name *. It is accord- 
ingly always called Hebrew in the New Teftament. This, 
though but a fmall circumftance, is charadleriftical of the peo- 
ple, who could not brook the avowal of changing their language, 
and adopting that of ftrangers, even a|hcn they could not avoid 
being confcious of the thing. The dialed which they then 
fpoke might have been more properly ftyled Chaldee, or even 
Syriac, than Hebrew. But to give it-«ither of thefe appella- 
tions, had appeared to them as admitting what would always re- 
mind both themfelves and others of their fervitude. After the 
Macedonian conquefts, and the divifion which the Grecian em- 
pire underwent among the commanders, on the death of their 


* Hebre-w-wzs ambig;uous, as it might denote either the lanj^uage fpoken 
on the other fide of the river (that is Euphrates, which is ccmtnonly 
meant when no river is named) or the language of the people called Hd- 
rews. Preface to Matthew's Golpel, § 14, 15, 16, 17, iS. 


chief, Greek foon became the language of the people of rank 
through all the extenfive dominions which had been fubdued by 
Alexander. The perfecutions with which the Jews were ha- 
rafled under Antiochus Epiphanes, concurring with feveral other 
caufes, occafioned the difperfion of a great part of their nation 
throughout the provinces of Afia Minor, AlTyria, Phenicia, Per- 
fia, Arabia, Lybia, and Egypt ; which difperfion was in procefs 
of time extended to Achaia, Macedonia, and Italy. The una- 
voidable confequence of this was in a few ages,^ to all thofe who 
fettled in diftant lands, the total lofs of that dialeft which their 
fathers had brought out of Babylon into Paleftine. But this is 
to be underllood with the exception of the learned who ftudied 
the oriental languages by book. At length a complete veriion 
of the Scriptures of the Old Teftament was made into Greek ; a 
language which was then, and continued for many ages after- 
wards, in far more general ufe than any other. This is what 
is called the Septuagint or verfion of the Seventy (probably be- 
caufe approved by the Sanhedrim), which was begun (as has 
been faid) by order of Ptolemy Philadelphus, king of Egypt, for 
the ufe of the Alexandrian library. At firft no more than the 
Pentateuch was tranflated, which was foon followed by a verfion 
of the other books. This is doubtlefs the lirfl tranflation that 
was attempted of the Sacred Writings. 

§ 4. It will readily be imagined that all the Jews who inha- 
bited Grecian cities, where the oriental tongues were unknown, 
would be folicitous to obtain copies of this tranflation. To ex- 
cite in them this folicitude, patriotifm would concur with piety, 
and indeed almoA every motive that can operate upon men. In 
one view their Bible was more to them than ours is to us. It 
is religion alone, I may fay, that influences our regard ; whereas 
their facred books contained not only their religious principles 
and holy ceremonie?, but the whole body of their municipal 
laws*. They contained an accoimt of their political conftitution, 
and their civil hiftory, that part efpecially which is moil intereft- 
ang, the lives of their Patriarchs, and the gradual advancement 
of that family from whosn they gloried to be defcended ; the hif- 
tory of their eftablifhment as a nation ; the exploits, victories, 
and conquefts of their anceftors ; the lr\'es and atchievements of 
their kings and htfroes, prophets and reformers. Nay, more, the 
Scriptures miglit alfo be juftly confidered as a collection of the 
writings, both profaic and poetical, of all the moft eminent au- 
thors their country had produced. A copy of fuch a verfion 
was therefore, in every view we can take of it, an ineftimable 
treafure to every Jew who underflood Greek, and could not read 
the original. And hence we may eafily conceive that the copies 
would foon be greatly multiplied, and widely fcattered. 

^ See Lowth, De Sacra Pcefi Hebrccorutn, Prrel. viii. 


§ 5. Let us attend to the confequences that would naturally 
follow. Wherever Greek was the nnother-tongue, this verfion 
would come to be ufed not only in private in Jewilli houfes, but 
alfo in public in their fchools and fynagogues, in the explanation 
of the weekly leffons from the law and the prophets. The ftyle 
of it would confequentlv foon become the ftandard of language 
to them on religious fubje<^s. Hence would arife a certain uni- 
formity in phrafeology and idiom among the Grecian Jews, 
wherever difperfed, in regard to their religion and facred rites, 
whatever were the particular dialefts which prevailed in the 
places of their refidence, and were ufed by them in converfing on 
ordinary matters. 

§ 6. That there was, in the time of the apoftles, a diflinftion 
made between thofe Jews who ufed the Greek language and the 
Hebrews, or thofe who fpoke the language of Paleftine and of 
the territory of Babylon, which they afFecled to call Hebrew, is 
manifeft from the Aftsof the apoftles. There (Aftsvi. 1. &c.) 
we are informed, that there aroje a murmuring of the Grecians 
againft the Hebrews, hecaufe their widouit were negleiied in the daily 
minijl ration. That thofe Grecians v.ere Jews, is evident from the 
hiftory ; for this happened before Peter was fpecially called to 
preach the gofpel to Cornelius and his family, who were the firft 
fruits of the Gentiles to Chrift. Befides, though the word Grecian 
made ufe of in our tranflation is fynonymous with Greeks yet the 
term employed in the original is never applied in the New Tei- 
tament to Pagan Greeks, but folely to thofe Jews who had reii- 
ded always or moflly in Grecian cities, and confequently whofe 
common tongue was Greek. The Gentile Gieeks are invaria- 
bly called in Scripture '£»)!»£?, whereas the term ufed in the' 
place quoted is 'EAA>)>/r«(, a word which even in clafllcal authors 
does not mean Greeks, but imitators of the Greeks, or thofe who 
write or fpeak Greek ; being a deiivation from the word \WtivC*jyy 
to Jpeak Greek, or iviitate the Greeks. The term occurs only 
thrice in the New Teflament, that is in two other pafla^es of the 
A£ls befide that novc quoted. One of thefe is (Afts ix. 29.) 
where we are told that Saul, alfo called Paul after his converfion, 
being at ]tx\ii2\tm,difputed agninjl the Grecians, tt^a? t»? 'E^Arw'r**^, 
who went about to flay him. This alfo happened before the 
converfion of Cornelius, and conf^quently before the gofpel was 
preached to any Gentile ; but, as at their feftivals, there was a 
general concourfe of Jewi(h people at Jerufalem from all the 
parts of the world into which they were difperfed, a confiderable 
number of thofe Hellenifls or Grecizers, as in our idiom we ftiould 
be apt to term them, muft have been prefent on that occafion. 
The only other parage is where we are told, (A6ls xi. 2s.) 
that fome of thofe being Cypriots and Cyrenians, who were 
fpattcred abroad on the perfecution that arofe about Stephen, 



fpaie unto the Grecians (:7^o? tk? 'EAAnn?-*;) at A.ntIoch, preach- 
" ing the Lord 'Jefus. Whether this was before or after the 
baptifm of Cornelius, recorded in the foregoing chapter, is tiot 
certain ; but one thing is certain, that it was before thofe 
difciples could know of that memorable event. Concerning the 
others who were in that difperfion, who were probably Hebrews, 
we are informed in the verfe immediately preceding, that in all 
thofe places, Phenicia, Cyprus and Antioch, through which they 
went, they preached the word to none but Jews. 

§ 7. The learned Bafnage makes a principal handle of this 
paflage for fupporting an opinion, which had been advanced be- 
fore by Bcza, that by the Hellenijh is meant the profelytes to J'u- 
daifm, they being contrafted here not with the Hebrews^ but with 
the yews. But let it be obftirved, that the word yew was not 
always, in thofe days, ufed in the fame fenfe. Moll com- 
monly indeed it referred to the nation, in which fenfe it was 
fynonymous with Ifraelite. A man of Jewifh extraftion was 
not the lefs a Jew, becaufe he was neither a native nor an in- 
habitant of Judea, and underftood not a fyllable of its lan- 
guage. Sometimes, however, it referred to the country, in 
which acceptation it belonged particularly to the inhabitants of 
Judea or Palefline, including thofe neighbouring regions wherein 
the fame tongue was fpoken. That the Samaritans (^though 
mortally hated as fchifmatics) were comprehended in this appli- 
cation of the term Jew, is evident from what v^e learn from the 
A£ls, (ch. viii. 5. &c.) where we are infojrmed of their being 
converted by Philip, and receiving the gifts of the Holy Spirit 
by the hands of Peter, fome time before the converllou of 
Cornelius, the firft fruits of the Gentiles. Nay fometimes, 
in a ftill more limited fignification, it regarded only the inhabi- 
tants of the diilrift belonging to the tribes of Judah and Benja- 
min, which had anciently conilituted the kingdom of Judah. la 
this fenfe we underftand the word as ufed by the evangelifl John, 
chap. vii. l. After thefe things Jefus walked in Galilee ; for he 
would not walk in ^ewry (^la^cnx, Judea) hccnufe the yews fought 
to kill him. Yet Galilee was a part of Judea in the larger and 
even more common acceptation of the word, and the Galileans, 
of whom were the apofties, were, in every fenfe except this con- 
fined one, Jews as well as the others. The fame diftinftion is 
made between Judea and Galilee by Matthew, ch.ii. 2Z. It 
cannot be doubted, therefore, that the term ye\vs in the pafTaoe 
under examination, ought to be undcrftood in the fecond fenfe 
above mentioned, as equivalent to Hebrews. 

A little attention to the cafe puts this conclufion beyond a 
doubt. Why fhould they, in preaching the gofpel, make a dif- 
tinclion between yews and profelytes ^ perfons who had received 
the feal of circumcifiqn, and fubjeded themfelves, without re- 


46 P R E L I M I K A R T 

ferve, to the Mofaic yoke ? The law itfelf made no diftiuclion ; 
nay, it exprefsly prohibited the people from making any. When 
a Jlratiger fball fojourn with thee, and will keep the pajfover to 
the Lord, let all his tnales be circumcJfed, and then let him come 
near and keep it, and he Jhall he as one that is bora in the land ; 
for no uncircumcJfed pcrfon Jhall eat thereof. One law JJjall be to 
him that is home born, and to the Jlranger that fojourneth among 
you. Exod. xii. 48, 49. See alfo Numb, xv. 14, 15, 16. 29. 
This laft phrafe (though fometimes ufed with greater latitude) 
became a common pcriphraGs for a profelyte. We find accord- 
ingly, that though a queftion arofe early in the church, and was 
for a time hotly agitated, concerning the lawfulnefs of admitting 
the. uncircumcifed to baptifm (for fuch was Cornelius, though no 
idolater), there is no hint given that the fmalleft doubt was en- 
tertained concerning the admiflion of profelytes who had already 
embraced the Jewifh ritual, and were circurocifed So far from 
it, that the keeneft advocates for uniting Judaifm with Chritlian- 
ity, infifted only that the Gendle converts might be circumcifed, 
and compelled to join the obfervance of the law of Mofes to their 
faith in Chrift. Where then could be the difficulty of receiving 
thofe who were already difciples of Mofe?, and had been cir- 
cumcifed ? It will perhaps be retorted, " If the Chriftians could 
have no fcruple to preach to profelytes, ftill lefs could they have 
to preach to thofe native Jews, who differed in nothing from 
their brethren in Paleftine but in language." True, indeed, they 
could hav^e no fcruple ; but thofe who came at that time to An- 
tioch, were not all qualified for preaching in Greek, for all 
had not the gift of tongues. And the hiftorian has rendered it 
evident that the want of the language was the reafon they did it 
not, having obferved that thofe who came thither and preached 
to the Hellenifts, were men of Cyprus and Cyrene, places where 
Greek was the prevailing tongue. 

In regard to the murmuring mentioned in the fixth chapter, 
which gave rife to the appointment of deacons, nothing can be 
more improbable than Beza's hypotheiis. The number of the 
profelytes of righteoufnefs, as they are fometimes called, could 
not be great ; for though feveral, like Cornelius, had been gain- 
ed over from Paganifm to the worlhip of the true God, few, 
comparatively, were induced to adopt the Mofaic ceremonies. 
Now, converts of the firft fort were ftill by the Jews accounted 
heatfjens, and had accefs to no part of the temple inacceffible to 
Gentiles. Of the Jewifh profelytes, it was a part only that was 
converted to Chriftianity ; and of that part, thofe who were both 
widows and indigent, could not furely be a great proportion. 
Further, if by Hellenifts be meant profelytes, where was the oc- 
cafion for clafling them feparately from the Jews, or for fo much 
as enquiring who was a Jew by birth, and who a profelyte ? It 



was not agreeable, as we have feen, either to the fpirit or to the 
letter of the law, to make fo invidious, not to fay odious, a dif- 
tinftion; and if not to the law, dill lefs, if poffible, to the gofpel. 
Whereas the diftinction, on the other hypothelis, being founded 
oh their uling different languages, was not barely convenient, but 
necefHiry. They were dalles of people who could not be ad- 
dreffed in the tame tongue ; and, for this reafon, it was probably 
found expedient to employ different agents in fupplying thenj. 
Certain it is, they were in the conllant practice of alFembling in 
different fynagogues ; for in Jerufalem there were Greek fyna- 
gogues for the accommodation of the HtUenifts of different na- 
tions, who came thither either occabonally, or to attend the great 
fcftivals, as well as Hebrewfynagogues for the ufe of the natives. 
Such were mofl of thofe mentioned in the A(9:s, ch. vi. 9. the 
Cyrenian fynagogue and the Alexandrian, the Cilxian and the 

That Nicolas, one of the deacons eleSed on that occaGon, was 
a profelyte, is a circumtlance of no moment in this cpellion. li 
four, or even three of the feven, had been of that denomination, 
it might have been pleaded with fome plaufibiliiy, that there 
muff have been in this a defign of deflroying in the profelytes all 
fufpicion of partiality. As it was, had it been they who mur- 
mured, it would have rather increafed than diminifhed their jea- 
loufy, to find that' they had gotten only one of their own clafs 
chofen for fix of the other. This therefore mud be confidered 
as a circumflance merely accidental. As to that fingular con- 
ceit of Vofiius, that the Hellenifts were thofe who favoured the 
do<Slrine of fubmilTion to a foreign yoke, as it is deflirute alike 
of internal credibility and external evidence, it requires no refu- 

^ 8. So much for the difliinclion that obtained in thofe days 
between Hebrev/ Jews and Grecian Jews, or Hellenifts ; among 
the latter of whom, the verfion of the Seventy was in coallant 
nfe. The Greek had been for ages a fort of univerfal language 
in the civilized world, at leaft among people of rank and men of 
letters. Cicero had vdth truth faid of it, (Pro Archia Poeta) at 
the time when Rome was in her glory and Greece declining — 
** Grceca leguntur in omnibus fere gentibus : Latina fuis finibus^ 
*' exiguis fane continentur." This continued to be tlie cafe till 
the time of the publication of the Gofpel, and for fome centuries 
afterwards. As the Greek was then of all languages the beft 
underftood, and the moft generally fpoken throughout the em- 
pire, the far greater part of the New Teftament, which contain- 
ed a revelation for all mankind, was originally written in that 
tongue. I fay, the far greater part, becaufe iome critics are of 
opinion that the gofpel of Matthew (fee the preface to that gof- 
pel) and the epilile to r: e Hebrews, vvere originally vvritten in 



that dialeft of the Chaldce, which was then the language of Je- 
rufalem, and by Jewilh writers called Hebrew, It muft be re- 
membered that all the penmen of the New Teflament were 
Jews — the greater part Hebrews, not Hellenifts ; but whether 
they were Hebrews or Hellenills, as they wrote in Greek, the 
veriion of the Seventy would ferve as a model in what concern- 
ed propriety of expreffion on religious fubjedts. It was, befides, 
the idiom which would be bell underftcod by all the converts to 
Chriflianity from among their brethren the Jews, wherefoever 
fcattered, and that whereby their writings would more perfe£lly 
harmonize with their own Scriptures, which the whole of that 
people had in fo great and deferved veneration ; for let it be ob- 
ferved that, though the Jews afterwards came to lofe entirely 
their reipecl for the Septuagint, and even to depreciate it as an 
unfaithful, as well as inaccurate tranilation ; this change of their 
fentiments was the mere effe£l of their difputes with the Chri- 
flians, who, in arguing from it, went to the oppofite extreme — 
conlidered it as the immediate work of infpiration — and, in eve- 
ry inftance wherein it differed from the original Hebrew, with 
which they were unacquainted, gave it the preference, treating 
the latter as a compilation which had been corrupted by the Jews, 
in fpite to Chriftianity. But of the high elfeem which this peo- 
ple once entertained for that verlion, particularly about the time 
of the publication of the gofpel, their own writers, Philo and. 
Jofephus, are the moft unexceptionable witnefles. 

^ 9. From the conformity and peculiarity in language above 
taken notice of, fome critics, in order to diftinguilh the idiom of 
the Septuagint and New Tellament from that of common 
Greek, have termed it Hellenillic ; not with exadt propriety, I 
acknowledge, if we regard the etymology of the word, but with 
juftnefs fufficient for the purpofe of characlerifing the peculiar 
phrafeology of thofe writings. The difputes raifed on this fub- 
je6l by Salmafiua and fome others are fcarcely worth naming, as 
they will, upon examination, all be found to terminate in mere 
difputes about words. I readily admit, that this fpeciality of 
diclion is properly not a peculiar language, nor even a peculiar 
dialecl, in the fame fenfe as the /^ttic^ the Ionic, the Eoiic, and 
the Boric, are called different dialects ; for there are in it no pe- 
culiarities in the inflexions of either nouns or verbs. In ftricl- 
nefs of fpeech, the peculiarity does more properly conflitute a 
difference of idiom, than either of language or of dialeft . The 
phrafeology is Hebrew, and the words are Greek. This fingular 
manner in the ancient tranflators, is to be confidered as partly 
intentional, and partly accidental : partly intentional, becaufe, 
from the fcrupulous, I may even fay, fuperftitious, attachment 
of the Jews not only to the words, but to the letters and fylla- 
bics, to every jot and tittle, of the original, they would be led 



to attempt a manner of tranflating fo fervilelj literal, as is al- 
ways incompatible with purity in the language into which the 
tranflation is made ; — partly accidental, becaufe, even -vithout 
defign, a perfon I'peakiag or writing a foreign language, ire- 
quently mingles in his fpeech the idioms of his native tongue. 
One fource of the peculiarities in idiom, may have arifen from 
this circumftance, that the tranflators, though Jews, were Alex- 
andrians. In a language fpoken, as Greek was then, in many 
diftant countries, all independent of one another, there inevitably 
arife peculiarities in the acceptations of words in different re- 
gions. Perhaps we ought to impute to this, that fometimes 
terms have been adopted by the Seventy which appear to us not 
the moll appofite for rendering the import of the original, fuch 
as ^iiiSnx.n for DH!! beritby and 'es-<«? for T'DH chafid. But 
whatever be in this, the habit which the apoftles and evange- 
liils had of reading the Scriptures, and hearing them read, whe- 
ther in the original, or in the ancient verfion, would, by infefting 
their ftyle, co-operate with the tendency which, as natives of 
Paleftine, they would derive from converfation, to intermix He- 
braifms and Chaldaifms in their writings. 

§ 10. It is not to be dilTembled, that the facred penmen of the 
New Teftament have, efpecially in modern times, had fome 
ftrenuous advocates, both among foreigners and amongft our own 
countrymen, who have, in my opinion, with more zeal than 
judgment, defended their didtion, as being, when judged by the 
rules of grammar and rhetoric, and the practice of the moft cele- 
brated writers in Greece, altogether pure and elegant. They 
feem to fulpect, that to yield, even on the clearefl evidence, a 
point of this nature, though regarding ornaments merely human 
and exterior, might bring diihonour on infpiration, or render it 
quellionable. I cannot help thinking that thefe people muil 
have very indiftinft ideas on this fubjeft, and may be juftly laid 
to incur the reproof v/hich Peter, on a memorable occafion, re- 
ceived from his jVIafter — that they favour more the things of men 
than the things of God, Matt. xvi. 23. Are wordb of any kind 
more than arbitrary figns ? And may not the lame be faid with 
juftice of phrafes and idioms ? Is there a natural fitnefs m one 
word or phrafe more than in another, for denoting the thing iig- 
nified ? Is not the connedlion between founds and ideas merely 
artiticial—the refult of human, though tacit conventions ? With 
regard to thofe rules which conilitute purity in the language of 
any country, what are they, in eflfeft, but the conventions which 
have happened to obtain among the natives, particularly thofe of 
the higher ranks ? Vulgarifms, and foreign idioms, which may 
obtain among llrangers, and thofe of the lower ranks, have no 
more natural unfitnefs to convey the fenfe which they that ufe 
them intend to convey by them, than the terms and phrafes 

Vol. I. Q which. 

33 P R E L I M I N A R V 

which, in confequence of the preference given by their fuperlors, 
may be regarded as elegancies. It may be as reafonably ob- 
jected againft our religion, that the perfons by whom it was 
propagated, were chofen from what men, in high life, account 
the dregs of the people, as that the Holy Spirit fliould accommo- 
date himfelf to the language of thofe who were aclually chofeu. 
Nay, language as well as drefs being in fatl no more than a 
fpecies of mode, it may with as good reafon be maintained, that 
the ambaffadors whom Chrift fent for promulgating his dodtrine, 
ihould have been habited like gentlemen, and men of falhion, as 
that they ihould have fpoken the diale6t of fuch. Splendid ftyle 
had no more connection with the purpofe of their million than 
fplendid apparel. The cloth which they wore, how coarfe fo- 
ever, anfwered all the elVential purpofes of clothing ; the fame 
may be faid of the language which they fpoke. And if it be 
argued, that good language would create greater refpeft to their 
perfons, and clofer attention to what they faid, and confequently 
would contribute to its making a deeper imprefiion ; as much 
may be affirmed, with truth, of a genteel appearance both of 
perfon and of drefs. Nothing ferves more powerfully to quafk 
curiofity and expefiation, and confequently to deftroy attention, 
than fuch an external figure as generally accompanies poverty 
and ignorance, and fuggefts a total want of the advantages of 
education, and more efpecially, of that indifpenfable advantage 
which the fafliionable world czWs feeing good company. 

But thefe very difadvaatages or defeats, both in fpeech and in 
outward figure, are afligned by the infpired writers as the reafons 
of God's preference, whofe thoughts are not our thoughts, nor 
are our ways his ways. Paul argues, that the fuccefs of the 
preachers of the gofpel, in fpite of the abfence of thofe accom- 
plifhraents in language then fo highly valued, was an evidence 
of the divine power and ewcrgy with which their miniftry was 
accompanied. He did not addi«is them, he tells us, i Cor. i. 17. 
with the wifdom of words — with artificial periods and a fludied 
elocution, lefl the crofs of Qhrifl fj^ould he made of none effeEi ; — 
left to human eloquence thai fuccefs fiiould be afcribed which 
ought to be attributed to the divinity of the do£trine, and the 
agency of the Spirit, in the miracles wrought in fupport of it. 
There is hardly any fentiment which he is at greater pains to 
enforce. He ufed none of the enticing or perfuaftv^e words of 
man's wifdom. Wherefore ? — That their faith might not fland 
in the wifdom of men, hut in the power of God, l Cor. ii. 4, 5. 
Should I aflc, What was the reafon why our Lord Jefus Chriil 
chof; for the inftruments of that moll amazing revolution in the 
religious fyrtems of mankind, men perfedlly illiterate, and taken 
out of the lowed clafs of the people ? your anfwer to this will 
ferve equally for an anfwer to that other queftion — Why did the 



Holy Spirit chufe to deliver fuch important truths in the barba- 
rous idiom of a few obfcure Galileans, and not in the politer and 
more harmonious ftrains of Grecian eloquence ? I repeat it, the 
anfwer to both queftions is the fame — That it might appear, be- 
yond contradiction, that the excellency of the power was of God, 
and not of man *, 

§ II. There are feme collateral purpofes which Providence 
has effected by the fame means. One is, that the writings of 
the New Teftament carry, in the very expreffion and idiom, aa 
intrinfic and irrefiflible e\-idence o^ their authenticity. They are 
fuch as, in refpefl of ftyle, could not have been written but by 
Jews, and hardly even by Jews fuperior, in rank and education, 
to thofe whofe names they bear. And what greatly Itrengthens 
the argument is that, under this homely garb, we find the moft 
exalted fentiments, the clofeft reafoning, the purell morality, and 
the fublimell do6trine. The homelinefs of their ditVion, when 
ciiticifed by the rules of grammarians and rhetoricians, is what 
all the moil learned and judicious of the Greek fathers frankly 
owned. And is it modelt in us, petty critics of modern times, 
to pretend to be nicer judges of purity and elegance in the 
Greek language, than Origen and Chryfoflom, whofe native 
tongue it was ; and who, befides, were mafters of uncommon 
ikill, as well as fluency, in that language ? I have heard of a 
French critic who undertook to demonftrate that Ariftotle did 
not underftand Greek, nor Livy Latin. There is hardly an. 
opinion fo paradoxical or abfurd as not to find fome admirers. 
What wonder then that we fhould meet with people who efteem 
a Pfochinius and a Blackwallf better judges of Greek than the 
greateft orators among the Grecians, and maintain that Paul's 
ftyle, in ipite of his own verdi6l, is as claflical as Plato's. The 
writings of the ancient Greeks have been rummaged for the dii- 
covery of words and plirafes, which, in the import given them, 
might appear to refemble what has been accounted Hebraifm or 
Syriafm in the New Teftament. The fuccefs of fuch endea- 

* Thofe who defiie to fee th s argument treated 33 it affcdls infidel* 
(who make a Handle of the badnefs of the ftyle to difcredit revelation) 
m?.j conialt the late BiOiop of Gloucefter's Do6liine of Grace, B. ). 
ch. viii, IK, and x. I here confider the queftion chiefly as afFedling fome 
well-meaning but millaken Chnftians. It may be proper further to ob- 
ferve, that the opinion of the very acute and learned author of the work 
above mentioned, does not, on the fubjeit of inlpuation laid down in 
ch. vii. in eveiy thing coincide with that liere fupported. A diftinftion 
is made by him, not only between the ftyle and the fentiments, but be- 
tween the lentiments of greater and ihole of lefs moment, in the fcveral 
books, The latter diltinilion leads to a controveiiy which is quite fo. 
reign from my argument, and with wliich for that reafon I have not med- 

+ A. Blackwall, a..-ihor of " The vSatred Claftics defended and illuftrt- 


vours has been far from giving fatisfaSion to readers of diftern- 
ment. It will readily be acknowledged, by the impartial, that 
feveral idioms in the New Teftament have been miftaken for 
Oriental, which ma^ be as truly denominated Grecian. But 
there remains a much larger number of thofe brought under 
that clafs, concerning which there can be no reafonable doubt *. 

$ 12. The methods by which our opponents, on this article, 
fupport their hypothefis are, 1 fay, unfatisfadtory. There are 
fuch negligencies in the ftvle, even of the beft writers, as to 
render it unfafe to pronounce on the goodnefs of an expreffion 
which we have only once met with, though in a celebrated au- 
thor. Much lefs ought a lingular phrafe found in one fingle 
claflic, fimilar to an idiom frequent in the New Teftament, to 
be accounted evidence that the idiom was in general, and appro- 
ved, ufe, which always determines purity in every tongue. The 
Angularity, in the one cafe, oppofed to the frequency in the 
other, ftiould lead us to a very different conclufion. The evi- 
dence cannot be more fatisfadory which arifes from a particular 
turn of expreffion occurring in fome poetical work, and coinci- 
ding with an idiom current in the New Teftament, which is 


* The very firft words of the gofpel, B</3A«5 ysvse-EWf, for genealogy or 
lineage, are one example amongft hundreds th^t might be produced. How 
many meanings are given to the word cru^%, fiejh, in that facred volume, 
for which you will not find a fingle authoiity in any profane writer r' Be- 
fide the original meaning of the word univerfally admitted, it denotes 
fometimts the whole body confidered as animated, as in Matt. xxvi. 41. 
The fpirit ts willing, but the flelh is lueak — This may indeed be thought to 
be of all the deviations from the proper fenfc, the raoft defenfible on claf- 
fical and rhetorical principles, being not an unnatural fynecdoche of the 
part for the whole. — Secondly, It fometimes means a human being, as in 
Luke iii. 6. All^K^Jhallfee the fal<vation of God ; — lometimes, jdly, a 
perfon's kindred collectively confidered, as in Rom. xi. 14. If by any meant 
I may proifoke to emulation them lubicb are my fiefll j — fometimes, 4thly, any 
thing of an external or ceremonial nature, as oppofed to that which is in- 
ternal and moral, as in Gal iii. 3. Having be^un in the fpirit, are ye neiv 
made perfe^ by the flefh ? — fometimes, sthly, the fenfitive part of our na- 
ture, the leat of appetite, as in 2 Cor. vii. i. Let us cleanfe ovrfel'vet from 
all filthineft of the flefh and fpirit, where there can be no doubt that the 
poUutions of the flefti mull be thofc of the appetites, being oppofed to 
the pollutions of the fpirit or thofc of the paffions. 6thly, and lafily. It 
is employed to denote any principle of vice and moral pravity of what- 
ever kind. Thus among the luorkt of the fiejb (Gal. v. 19, 20,11.) are 
numbered not only adultery, fornication^ vntleannefs, lafciviovfnefs, drunken^ 
ne/t, and re-uellingi, which all relate to criminal indulgences of appetite, 
but idolatry, vjitcbcraft, hatred, 'variance, emulations, •wrath, Jlrife, feditions, 
herefies, eniiyingt, and viurders, which are manifeftly vices of a diflferent 
kind, and hold more of the diabolical nature than of the beaftly. Now, 
for aoy of the fix meanings above mentioned, except perhaps the firft, as 
to which 1 will not be pofitive, we may defy thofc critics to produce 
claffical authority. Yet no man accuflomed to the oriental idiom, and 
the ftyle of the fecred writers, can miltake the fenlc in any of the pafla- 
ges quoted. 


written in profe. We know that the Greek, poetry had a pecu. 
liar dialedt, and many peculiar words ; and that their poets were, 
by the laws of their verification, allowed a latitude in this ref- 
peft, with which their profe writers were not indulged : nor is 
there any thing that their critics more loudly condemn, as fa- 
vouring of artifice and afFeftation, than what may be called a 
poetic phrafeology in profe. Let it not be imagined that I think 
the facred penmen chargeable with any thing alfefted or artifi- 
cial in their phrafeology. There is no charadler of flyle for 
which they are more diftinguifhable than the reverfe. But what 
would be juftly denominated artificial, afFefted, and foreign in a 
native of Attica, might be the refult of the moll undeiigning and 
natural fimplicity in an inhabitant of Paleiline, becaufe confor- 
mable to the idioms of his native language. Further, a ftrong 
refemblance, in an expreflion admitted to be claffical, will not 
fufEce for removing the charge of foreign idiom from the refem- 
bling but difFerent expreffion. In moft cafes, nothing lefs than 
identity will ferve *. Recourfe to fynonymas, analogy, and ety- 

* I {hall illuflrate this by an example in regard to which every Englifh 
reader can with Cafety be more deeifivc than even men of literature are 
qualified to be in regard to an example taken from a dead language. la 
a letter during the late war from the captain of a French privateer to the 
magiftrates of a feapoit demanding a contribution, and threatening in cafe 
of non compliance to dellroy the, there was this exprefTion, *' I will 
make my duty." No Englifhman, we are certain, would have exprcffed 
himfelf fo, unlefs he had done it for a difguife. Yet I can eafily conceive 
that a toreigner, who has learned our language only by book, might fpe- 
cioufly maintain, that the cxprelhon, fo far from being a Gallicifm, is un- 
exceptionable Englilh. " Is it not," he would argue, *• common to fay, 
I will do my duty ' Now, if this expreffion be clalTical, where is the im- 
propriety in fubftituting one fynonymoas word for another^" And to 
fhow that do and make are fynonymous, he might urge, firil, that m moft 
other tongues one word ferves for both. Thus each of them'is rendered 
into Latin, facsre ; iato Italian, fare; into French, faire. Secondly, 
though he had not found in any Englith book the identical phrafe, tomuke 
duty, he could produce exprefiTions in which there is an entire fimilarity. 
To make court, to make obei/ance, are both good ; nay, it ftrengthens the 
argument, that to do obei/ance, is alfo ufed in the fame ligmfication. Shake- 
fpeat fays, " What make they there ?" which is equivalent to, What dtf 
they there ? Dryden fpcaks of "the faults he had made ;" though doubt- 
lefs the more ufual expreffion would have been, '"the faults he had done." 
Now, from the firft principles of analogy, we are warranted to conclude, 
that if making a fault be proper to expiefs dting lurong, making a duty is 
proper to exprefs doing right. All this is very plaufible, and would pro- 
bably be fufficient to convince moft ftrangers, but would only extort a 
fmile from an intelligent native, on whom a thoufand fuch arguments 
could make no impreffion. Yet I will venture to affirm that, if there be 
no folidity in this reafoning, nine tenths of what has been To pompoufly 
produced to (how that the fuppofed Hebiaifms of the New Teflament are 
in the genuine idiom of the Greek tongue, are no better than arrant trif- 
ling. It was to triflers of thi; fort that faid very appofitely, 
I>« fi/, KUTXyiXufiiiei icru titihiyof(.iy»i ^gej 'E?\MfKS, t7rtti»f iiftn 7r«j «vt»« 



mology, is neceflarj and often fuccefsful in difcovering the fenfe 
of an obfcure expreifion, whereof nothing lefs than the ufe of 
good authors will warrant the propriety or elegance. Sufficient 
evidence in the one cafe, is often no evidence in the other. 

J 13. Black wall * admits freely that there are many Hebra- 
ifms in the New Teftament, at the fame time aflerting that they 
are real beauties, which add both vigour and ornament to the 
expreffion. In this opinion, if he was ferious, I believe that, 
upon examination, we ihall not be found to differ. Abftrafting 
from that loweft kind of beauty in language, which refults from 
its foftnefs and harmony, confidered as an object to the ear, 
every excellency of ftyle is relative, arifing folely from its fitnefs 
for producing, in the mind of the reader, the end intended by the 
writer. Now in this view it is evident, that a ilyle and manner 
may, to readers of one denomination, convey the writer's fenti- 
ments with energy as well as perfpicuity, which, to thofe of a 
different denomination, would convey them feebly, darkly, and, 
when judged by their rules of propriety, improperly. This I 
take to have been actually the cafe with the writers of the New 
Teflament. I fpeak particularly of the hiftorical books. I look 
upon the language of Matthev/, Mark, Luke, and John, as better 
adapted to the readers for whofe ufe the Gofpels and Acls were 
at firft compofed, than the language of Plato or Demofthenes 
would have been. 

I fhould at the fame time think it unreafonable to deny, that 
the latter mufl have been more intelligible to an Athenian, and 
much more pleaCng, nervous, and animated than the former. 
Nay, if fuch a one had even denominated the idiom of the New 
Teftament barbarous^ I fhould not have thought it an unpardon- 
able offence. The word indeed founds harfhly j but we know- 
that from the mouths of native Greeks it could only mean that 
the idiom of that book is not conformable to the rules of their 
grammarians and rhetoricians, and to the practice of their wri- 
ters of reputation ; a conceffion which we may eafily make 
them, without derogating in the leaft from the apoftles and evan- 
gelifls — a conceffion which (as was obferved before) the moft 
learned and oratorical of the Greek fathers did not fcruple to 


«'/»» j)v, zxrxye^iiiiiY «T»5"e>*v &■? cciu.ttBa>y, yi fyx^ xxTfi'/e^ict ivTut t'/r.ufinv. 
Cnryf. Horn. 3. u. i Cor. i. " That we may not render ourlelvts ridicu- 
" lous arguing; thus with Grecians, for our difpute is with them ; let us 
" accufe the apoitles of being illiterate, for this acciiCation is an enco- 
" mium." Origin coes ftill faither, and fays, 0-jk. xcrvtxfs-B^nret et axcfoAM 
Tv/p^aitiTl? Tain IV cii TT^cdcoirTHe-i, ^x<rtv i^iuTXi «v«; ru X»'/u, x>'A. « tj) yiuattt 
Philoc. c. 4. " The apoiUes, not infenfible 01 their own dcteds, profsls 
" themfclves to be of the vulgar in fpeech, but not in knowledge." 

* Sacr. ClalT. Fait I. Ch. i. 



make. In fuch cafes it is evident, that a native of commoa 
fenfe is a much better judge than a learned foreigner*. 

§ 14. I expreffed myfelf dubioufly of Blackwall's ferioufnefs 
in affirming that the Oriental idioms, with which the facred au- 
thors abound, are highly ornamental to their compofitions ; be- 
caule nothing can be plainer than that he is indefatigable in con- 
troverting their claims to the greater part of thofe ornaments. 
1 cannot think, he would have willingly injured them ; yet it is 
impoflible not to perceive, that he is at infinite pains, though on 
the moft frivolous pretexts fj to diveft them of almoll every 
beauty of this fort afcribed to them by others ! I dcQre onlv to 
reftore to them the merit, of which he has not very confidently, 
though I believe with a pious intention, endeavoured to rtrip 
them. This critic did not coniider, that when he admitted anv 
Hebraifms in the New Tellament, he in effeft gave up the 
caufe. That only can be called a Hebraifm in a Greek book, 
which, though agreeable to the Hebrew idiom, is not fo to the 
Greek. Nobody v/ouid ever call that a Scotticifm, which is 
equally in the manner of both Scots and Englifti. Now, fuch 
foreign idioms as Hebr'ifms in Greek, Grecifms in Hebrew, or 
Latinifms in either, come all within the definition of barbarifm 
and fometimes even of folecifm — words which have always 
fomething relative in their ligni'acation ; that turn of expreffion 
being a barbarifm or a folecifm in one language, which is ftricllj 
proper in another — and I may add, to one fet of hearers which 
is not fo to another. It is then in vam for any one to debate 
^bout the applicarion of the names barbarifm zvA folecifm. 

To do fo is at beli but to wrangle about words, after admit- 
• Hardlvany foreigner of the laTi century has been more converfant with 
Engluh men and Enghih books than Vo'tdire. Yet hs knowledee of. 
our language, on which I have been lold he p:qued himlelr not a little 
has net fecured him from b'undeiing when he attempted to wnte it. In 
a letter to the Parifians, prefixed to his comedy L" Ecafjliife, which h^ 
thought proper to introduce to the world as a tranfl itioiiT he quotes the 
following fentence as part of a letter he nad received from tiie En^ljih 
author : " You have quite empoverithed the chirafterof Wafp ; and%oa 
have blotted his chaftifement at the end of the dranaa." An Englilliman 
might have gueffed what he meant by the firft claule, but muft have re. 
maiiied in total darknefs about the fccond, \i he had not explained him. 
feif by fubjoining the tranOation. Te-v/ wuct, afaUH U caraclere de Frelo/i ■ 
ct ^ous ave% Jupprime faji cbatiment a la fin de la piece. An explanation not 
lefs neceff-iry to many of ins EngUih readeis th^n to his French. 

f The following is a fpecimen. Vol. II. Fart I. ch. ii. \ 2. " K«-«o!;Aii 
. xtvftM in the facred writers, feemed to fome gentlennen converfant in thclc 
ftudies unexampled in the old Grecians. Indeed it is verv rare ; but it 
is found in the lofty Pindar, (Nem. Od. 2.) K«T«/3aX«K is^^v ttymut.'^* 
A moft extraordinary way of proving that the phrafe K«t<«/3s>.7) y.97^ 
is not unexampled in the old Grecians. About the ri .r K«Ta,.'jA>j no 
Joubt was ever made, nor was any doubt made about Y^tr^ti j the qucf- 
tioa svas foleiy about the pbrsre. 


ting all that is meant by them. The apoflle Paul, lefs fcrupa- 
lous, does not hefitate, by implication, to call every tongue bar- 
barous to thofe who do not underftand it. If I know not the 
meaning of the voice, I Jhallhe a barbarian to him that fpeaketh ; 
and he that fpeaketh p^ all be a barbarian to me, i Cor. xiv. 11. 
Nor does it make any difference, as appears from the whole of 
the apoftle's argument, even if what is fpoken be fpoken by the 
Spirit. Surely, witn equal reafon, we may fay of thofe foreign 
idioms in any tongue, which render what is faid unintelligible 
or even obicure to the natives, that in refpeft of them they are 
barbaiifms. Nor is it, I think, denied by any judicious perfon, 
that there are fome idiomatical expreflions in the New Tefta- 
ment v.hich mull have puzzled thofe who were abfolute llran- 
gers to the language of holy writ *. My intention in obferving 
this, is chiefly to fhow, that if we would enter thoroughly into 
the idiom of the Septuagint, we muft accuftom ourfelves to the 
ftndy, not only of the original of the Old Teftament, but of the 
dialeft fpoken in Paleftine between the return of the Jews from 
the Babylonifh captivity and the deftru£tion of Jerufalem by the 
Romans ; for this lad, as well as the Hebrew, has affefted the 
language both of the old Greek tranflation and of the New Tef- 
tament. But of this, more afterwards. 

§ 15. Such is the origm and the charafler of the idiom which 
prevails in the writings of the apofties and evangelifts, and the 
remarkable conformity of the new revelation we have by them, 
though written in a different language, to the idiom of the old. 
It has been diftinguifhed in the former by the name HeUeniftic, 
not with critical accuracy, if regard be had to the derivation of 
the word, but with fufficient exacinefs, if attention be given to 
the application which the Hebrews made of the term Hellenift, 
whereby they diftinguifbed their Jewifh brethren who lived ia 
Grecian cities and fpoke Greek. It has been by fome of late, 


♦ Take the tvvo following for example* : Oyx «Su»«t»i»-« a-«g« tu &tat 
TCC1 ^'^i-iM, Luke i. 37. and ^t*- tti i9-«in tow* •■«g|, Matt. xxiv. 12. pbrafes 
which in my apprehcnfion would not have been more inte ligible to a 
Greek author than Arabic or Perfnn would have been. TK/*ct for thing, 
«•«» K* and TFX'TX vx. for no or none, f»p^ for per/on, &c. would to him, I 
failed, have proved infarmountable obftacies. Indeed the vulgar tranf- 
lation of the laft phrafe is no more Latin than the original is claflical 
Greek. Nonjicret /alva omais caro, which we may venture to affirm would 
hsve been no better than a 'iddle to Cicero or Cefar. Caftalio has ex- 
prelTed the fenfe in proper Latin, Nemo pror/us evaderet. Our tranflators 
have not unfitly kept in their verjion the one Hebraifm^{/>& for perfon, 
to which Qur ears are by fcriptural ufe fa-niliarifed^ and not lefs fitly re- 
jefled the other faying, No f.ejh fiould be fa-ved ; for every body muft be 
fenfible that if they had p eierved alfo fhr o':her idiom in Englifh, and 
faid, ii.l fitjh pould not be fa-ved, the fenfe would have been totally altered. 
This is but a fmall ipecimcD, not the hundiedth part of what might be 
produced on this fubjed. 


after fatlier Simon of the Oratory, more properly termed the 
Greek, of the fynagogue. It is acknowledged that it cannot 
ftriftly be denominated a feparate language, or even dialeft, 
when the term dialed is conceived to imply peculiarities in de- 
clenfion and conjugation. But, with the greateil juftice, it is 
denominated a peculiar idiom, being not only Hebrexv and Cha'- 
daic phrafes put in Greek, words, but even fingle Greek words 
ufed in fenfes in which thev never occur in the writings of pro- 
fane authors, and which can be learnt onlv from the extent of 
fignification given to fome Hebrew or ChalJaic word, conef- 
ponding to the Greek in its primitive and moll ordinary fenfe. 
This difference in idiom conllitntes a difficultv of another kind 
from that which is created by a dilTerence in dialeft ; a difficultv 
much harder to be furmounted, as it does not affecl; the form of 
the words, but the meaning. 

§ 1 6. It is pertinent, however, to obferve thnt the above re- 
marks on the Greek of the New Teftament, do riot imply that 
there was any thing which could be called idiomatical or vulgar 
in the language of our Lord himfelf, who taught always in his 
mother tongue. His apoftles and evangeiiils, on the contrary', 
who wrote in Greek, were, in writing, obliged to tranflate ths 
inlfrudfions received from liim into a foreign language of a verv- 
different llrufture, and for the ufe of people accuftomed to a pe- 
culiar idiom. The apparently refpeftful manner in which our 
Saviour was accotled by all ranks of his countrymen, and in 
which they fpoke of his teaching, fhows that he was univerfally 
confidered as a perfon of eminent knowledge and abilities. It 
was the amazing fuccefs of his difcourfes to the people, in com- 
manding the attention and reverence of all who heard him, which 
ferft awaked the iealoufy of the Scribes and Pharifees. 


The Style and Infpiratlon, 

VV E are not however to imagine, that becaufe all the writers of 
the New Teftament wrote in the idiom of the fynagogue, there 
is no difcernible diverfity in their ftyles. As the fame language 
admits a variety of dialefts, and even of provincial and foreign 
idioms, fo the fame dialeft and the fame idiom is fufceptible of 
a variety of ftyles. The ft:yle of Paul has fomething peculiar, 
by which, in my opinion, there would be no difficulty in diftin- 
guilhing him from any other writer. A difceming reader would 
not readily confound the ft:yle of Luke with that of either of the 
Vol. I, H evangelifts 

58 preliminary: 

evangelifts who preceded him, Matthew or Mark ; and ftill lefis, 
1 imagine, would he miilake the apoftle John's didion for that 
of any other penman of the New Teftament. ^he fame diffe- 
rences of ftyle will be difcovered by one who is but moderately 
coaverfant in Hebrew in the writers of the Old Teftament. In 
it we have ftill greater variety than in the New. Some of the 
books are written in profe and fome in verfe : and in each the 
differences between one book and another are confiderable. In 
the book of Job, for inftance, the charader of the ftyle is re- 
markably peculiar. What can be more djflimilar in this refpefl, 
though both arc excellent in their kind, than the towering- 
flights of the fublime Ifaiah, and the plaintive ftrains of the pa- 
thetic Jeremiah ? In the books of Scripture we can fpecify the 
concife ftyle and the copious, the elevated and the Gmple, the 
aphoriftic and the diffufe. 

The difference, 1 own, is not fo remarkable in tranfiations as 
in the original. The reafon will be evident on a little reflec- 
tion. Every man, and confequently every tianflator, has his 
peculiar diction and manner, which will rarely fail to affeft, not 
only his own compolitions, but alio the verftons he makes from 
other authors. In every verfion of the Bible, therefore, wherein 
the different books have the fame tranflator, there will be more 
or lefs of an affimilatiug quality, by which the works tranflated 
are brought, in point of exprelTion, to bear fome refemblance to 
the ordinary ftyle of the tranflator. Now, by being all brought 
nearer the fame thing, thev are brought nearer one another. 
Tranllation, therefore, is a fort of leveller. By its means, gene- 
rally, not always, (for fome can adapt themfelves to different 
llyles more eafily than others), the lofty is depreffed, the humble 
elevated, the loofer ftrains are confined, and the laconic rendered 
more explicit. The learned reader will be feniible of the juft- 
nefs of this remark, when he reflecls how much more dillinguifti- 
able the ftyles of the facred penmen above mentioned are in their 
own language, than even in the beft tranflations extant. Add to 
this, that if, of any two facred authors who difftr greatly in their 
flyle, we compare together fome paiTages, as they are rendered 
in the farqe tranflation, we fhall commonly find the famenefs of 
the tranflator's ftyle more remarkable in them ail, than the diffe- 
rences there may be of the ft vies of the authors. We (hall be 
oftener at a lofs to difcover in the quotations (if the recoUeftion 
of the fentiroents db not aflift us) Ifaiah and Amos, Matthew 
and John, than to recognize Caftalio and Beza, the Vulgate and 
Junius. Every tranflator, liowevcr, is not equally chargeable 
with this fault. I think none indeed fo much as Caftalio. 

f z. But it may be aiked, How is this diverfity in the diftion 
cf the facred penmen reconcilable %vith the idea of infpiration ^ 
Is not the ftyle of all infpired writers the fame, as being the 



ftyle of the fame Spirit by which they were alike direfted ? 
That in fome fenfe the ftyle of all thofe writers is the flyle of the 
Holy Spirit, who fpoke by them, and was the fame in them all, 
is not to be denied ; but that the Holy Spirit flioald always em- 
ploy the fame ftyle in conveying celeftial truths to mtn, is no 
more neceffary than that he fliould always ufe the fame language. 
People do not fufficiently advert, when they fpeak on this fub- 
jeft, to the difference between the expreffion and the lentiment, 
but ftrangely confound thefe, as though they were the fame ; yet 
no two things can be more widely different. The truths im- 
plied in the fentiments, are effential, immutable, and have an in- 
trinfic value ; the words which compofe the exprellion, are in 
their nature circumftantial, changeable, and have no other value 
than what they derive from the arbitrary conventions ot men. 
That the Holy Spirit would guide the minds of the facred pen- 
men in fuch a manner as to prevent their adopting terms unfuit- 
able to his defign, or which might obftrucl his purpofe ; and 
that in other refpefts he would accommodate hiinfelf to their 
manner and diction, is both reafonable in itfelf, and rendered un- 
queftionable by the works themfelves, which have the like cha- 
ra£teriftic differences of ftyle that we find in other literary pro° 

Can it be accounted more ftrange that the Holy Spirit fhould, 
by the prophet Amos, addrefs us in the ftyle of a fhepherd, and 
by Daniel in that of a courtier, than that by the one he ftiould 
fpeak to us in Hebrew, and by the other in Chaldee ? It is as 
reafonable to think, that the Spirit of God would accommodate 
himfelf to the phrafeology and didlion, as to the tone of voice 
and pronunciation, of thofe whom he was pleafed to enlighten ; 
for it cannot be denied, that the pronunciation of one perfon in 
uttering a prophecy might be more articulate, more audible, and 
more affefting than that of another — in like manner as one ftyle 
has more harmony, elegance, and perfpicuity than another. 
Caftalio fays juftly, *' Res didat Spiritus, verba quidem et lin- 
*' guam loquenti aut fcribenti liberam permittit * ;" which is to 
the fame purpofe with what Jerom had faid more than a thou- 
sand years before — '* Nee putemus in verbis fcripturarum evan- 
" gelium efle, fed in fenfu f." Allow me to add the teftimony 
of a late writer of our own — than whom none has done more to 
make men apprehend the meaning, and relifli the beauties of the 
facred poefy : *' Hoc ita facris vatibus tribuimus, ut nihil dero- 
'* gemus Divini Spiritus afflatui : etii fuam interea vim propriee 
" cujufque fcriptoris naturge atque ingenio concedamus. Neque 

*' enim 

* " The Spirit diflates the things, leaving the words and language fiee 
^ to the fpeaker or the writer," Defenfio contra Bezani. 

f " Let us not imagine that the gofpel confilts m the words of Scrip- 
tare, but in theferifs," Coajment. ia Epift, ad Gal. cap.i. 


" enim inilinclLi divino ita concitatur vatis animus, ut protinti5 
** obruatur hominis indoles : attolluiuur et erivuntur, non extir,- 
*' guuntur aut occultantur r.aturalis ingenii facultates ; et quan- 
*• quam Mofis, Davidis, et Ifaias, fcripta temper fpireni quiddam 
*' tarn excelfum tamque cccleite, ut plane videantur divinitus 
" edita, nihilo tamen minus in iis Mofcm, Davidem, et Ifaiacn, 
" Temper agnolcimus *." 

§ 3. In this there was an eminent difparity between the pro- 
phets of God and ihofe among the Pagans, faid to be poffefled of 
the fpirit of Python, or fpirit of divination. Thefe are reported 
to have uttered their predictions in what is called ecftacy or 
trance, that is, v/hilft they underwent a temporary fufpenfion 
both of their reafon and of their fenfes. Accordingly they are 
reprefented as mere machines, not afting but adled upon, and 
paflive like the flute into which the mufician blows. This is 
what has been called organic infpiration. In imitation of oae 
remarkable clafs of thefe, the forcerers and foothfayers among 
the Jews (who, like thofe of the fame craft among Pagans, 
reaped conliderable profit from abuling the credulity ot the rab- 
ble), had acquired a wonderful mode of fpeaking in which they 
did not appear to employ the common organs of fpeech, and 
were thence termed fyy*i-^if4,u^oi, ventnloqui belly-fpeakers. It 
is in allufion to this practice that Ifaiah denominates them the 
ivizzards, viii. 19. that peep and that mutter, whofe fpeech 
feemed to rife out of the ground, and to whifper out of the dull, 
xxix. 4. 

Totally different was the method of the prophets of the true 
God. The matter, or all that concerned the thoughts, was given 
them : what concerned the manner, or enunciation, was left to 
themfelves. The only exception the Rabbis mention is Balaam, 
whofe prophecy appeared to them to have been emitted in fpite 
of himfelf. But this cafe, if it was as they imagine, which may 
be jultiy doubted, was extraordinary. In all other cafes the 
prophets had, when prophefying, the fame command over their 
own actions, over their members, and organs, as at other times. 
They might fpeak or forbear ; they might begin and defift when 
they pleafed ; they might decline the taik afTigned ihem, and 
difobey the divine command. No doubt when they adled thus, 
they fmned very heinouflv, and were expofed to the wrath of 
Heaven. Of the danger of fuch difobedience we have two fignai 
examples, in the prophet who was fent to propheiy againft the 
altar erefled by Jeroboam at Bethel, and in the prophet Jonah. 

But that men continued (till free agents, and had it in their 
power to make a very injudicious ufe of the fpiritual gifts and 
illuminations which they received from above, is manifeft from 
the regulations on this fubjedl, eftabliihed by the apoftle Paul in 

# De Sacta retfi Heb, Pxal. xvi. . 


the -church of Corinth. The words wherewith he concludes his 
diredions on this topic are very appofite to my prefent purpofe, 
Tbefpirits of the prophets^ fays he, i Cor. xiv. 32. are JuhjeB 
to the prophets. Such is the difference between ihofe who are 
guided by the Spirit of truth, and thofe who are under the influ- 
ence of a fpirit of error. There is, therefore, no reafon to doubt. 
that the facred writers were permitted to employ the flyle and 
idiom moll familiar to them, in delivering the truths with which 
they were iufpired. So far only they were overruled in point of 
exprcfBon by the divine Spirit, that nothing could be introduced 
tending in any way to obftrudil the intention of the whole. And 
lometimes, efpecially in the ptediclion of future events, fucl\ 
terms would be fuggeded, as would, even beyond the prophet's 
apprehenfioa, conduce to further that end. The great obje6t of 
divine regard, and fubjefl of revelation, is things, not words. 
And were it poflible to obtain a tranflation of Scripture abfolutely 
faultlefs, the tranilation would be in all refpedls as valuable as 
the original. 

\ 4. But is not this dodrine, it muy be faid, liable to an ob- 
jection alfo from the gift of tongues conferred on the apoules 
and others for the promulgation of the gofpel ? In the languages 
with which thofe primitive miniiters were miraculoufly furnifh- 
ed, it may be objefted, they could not have any ftyle of their 
own, as a ftyle is purely the efFeft of habit, and of infenfible 
imitation. This objedion, how^ever, is eafily obviated : Firft, as 
they received by infpiration thofe tongues only whereof they had 
previoufly no knowledge, it is not probable^ at leaft it is not 
certain, that this gift had any place in the writings of the New 
Teftament : that in mod of them it had not, is manifeft. But, 
adly, if in fome it had, the moft natural fuppofition is, firft, that 
the knowledge of the tongue, wherewith the Holy Ghoft infpi- 
red the facred writers, uiuft have been in them precifely fuch 
a knowledge and fuch a readincfs in finding words and expref- 
fions, as is in others the effect of daily praftice. This is even ft 
neceirary confequence of fuppofing that the language itfelf, and. 
not the words of particular fpeeches (according to Dr Middlcton's 
notion*), was the; gift of the Spirit : idly. That their acquaint- 
ance with the tongue, lupernaturally communicated, muft have 
been fuch as would render their teaching in it beft adapted to 
the apprehenlions of the people with whom they would be moft. 
converfant, or fuch as they v.'ould have moft readily acquired 
among them in the natural way. Now on this hypothefis, 
which appears on many accounts the moft rational, the influence 
of habit, of native idiom, and of particular genius and turn of 
thinking, would be the fame on the writer's ftyle as though he 
had acquired the language in the ordinary way. 
. As 

« ElTay on tac Gut ot Tongues, 

^€2 r R E L I M I N A R Y 

As to the hypothefis of the author above mentioned, it is not 
more irrational in itfelf, than it is deftitute of e\-idence. , It is 
irrational, as it excludes the primary ufe, the converfion of the 
nations, for which, by the general acknowledgment of Chriftians 
in all ages, the gift of tongues was beftowed on the apoftles, and 
reprefents this extraordinary power as ferving merely to aftonifii 
the hearers ; the only purpofe, according to him, for which it 
ever was exerted. And as to evidence, the great fupport of his 
fyftem is an argument which has been fufficiently confidered al- 
ready, the defe£ls of the ftyle of the facred writers, when exa- 
mined by the rules of the rhetoricians, and the example of the 
orators of Athens. For, becaufe Cicero and the Greek philofo- 
phers were of opinion, that if Jupiter fpoke Greek, he would 
fpeak like Plato, the learned doftor cannot conceive that a flyle 
fo unlike Plato's as that of the evangelifts, can be the language 
of infpiration, or be accounted worthy of God. It was not, we 
find, peculiar to the Greeks, or to the apoftolic age, to fet too 
high a value on the words which man's wifdom taacheth. Nor 
was it only in the days of Samuel, that men needed to be taught 
that tbe Lord Jeeth not as manfceth, i Sam. xvi. 7. 

D I S S E R T A T I O N-S. 63 




The Caufes of the Differences in Languages. 

W HEN we compare one tongue with another, if we enter cn- 
tically into the genius and powers of each, we (hall ilad that 
neither the only nor, the chief difference is that which is moll' 
obvious, and coofiits in the founds or words euiployed, the in- 
flexions, the arrangement, and the conftruftion. Thcle maj foon 
be learnt from a tolerable grammar, and are to be confidered as 
affetting only the form of the language. There t^xc others, 
which more intimately aiFeclIng its fpirit, it requires a nicer dif- 
c^rnment to diflinguilh. Thefe icrve much more to charaSerife 
both the language and the people who fpeak it. Indeed, the 
knowledge of one of thefe has a great effect ia advancing the> 
knowledge of the other. We may fay with the greatell juftice, 
that as, on the one hand, the real chara6ler of a nation will noc 
be thoroughly underftood by one who is a perfe-fl llranger to 
their tongue ; fo, on the other, the exaft import of many of the 
words and combinations of words made ufe of in the language, 
will never be perfedly comprehended by one who knows no- 
thing of the charadler of the people, who is totally unacquaintc-i^ 
v.'ith their hiftory, religion, law, polity, arts, manners, an.d cuf- 
toms. Whoever, therefore, would be a proficient in either kind, 
muft be a ftudent in both. It is evident, that the particulars 
enumerated, or whatever regards the religion, the laws, the con- 
flitution, and the manners of a people, operate powerfully on 
their fentiments ; and thefe have a principal effecV, firil on the 
affociations of ideas formed in their minds in relation to charac- 
ter and to whatever is an object of abftrad reflexion ; fecondly, 


on the formation of words, and combination of phrafes, by which 
thefe alTociations are exprefied. Bat this will be better under- 
ftpod from what follows. 

§ 2. There are certain words in every language to which there 
are other words perfectly correTponding in other languages. 
There are certain words in every language which but imperfectly 
correfpond to any of the words of other languages. There are 
certain words in every language, to which there is nothing in 
lome other languages in any degree correfpondent. 1 {hall ex- 
emplify thefe three claffes in Greek, Latin, and Englifli, which 
will fulucicntlv illuflrat.e my meaning. 

§ 3. In all languages, the words wnereby the obvious produc- 
tions of nature, and the plaineft dillinclions of genera and fpecies 
known to the people are fig-nified, correfpond refpeftively to one 
another. Thus to ihe Greek words y.Xio?, nXtint, «§>*?, SekSpa*, «;to?, 
ttuTTiXii, XiBoi, the Latin words/oi, luna. avis, arbor, aquua^ vitzs^ 
lapis, and the Englilh, fun, moon, hird^ tree, eagle, vine, Jione^ 
are perfetlly equivalent in fignification ; and we are fure that we 
can never milfeke in rendering the Greek, word y.Xiee, wherever 
it occurs, into Latin by the word yb/, and into Englifh by the 
word fun. The fame thing holds true of the other terms in the 
thre- languages, taken feveraily in the order in which 1 have 
placed them. 

To this clafs we muft add the names of natural and obvione 
relations, as ■jrttrriP, fivrno, uio;, Bvyxrr^s, ithxpo;, uhxp'if, to which the 
La::a words pater, mater, Jihus , fiiia, frater^ foror, and the Eng- 
liih words father, mother, fon, daughter, brother ,fijler, perfectly 

To trie fame clafs we ought alfo to affign thofe words whereby 
the moll common and neceffary produftions of the mechanic arts 
are exprelTed; for though, in different countries, and diltant ages, 
there are cortfi^erable differences in the fafhion and appearance 
of their productions, we attend folely, in tranflating, to the prin- 
cipal iifes which a piece of work was intended to anfwer. Cori- 
fequently, when in thefe we find an entire coincidence, we, with- 
out further examination, pronounce the names equivalent. Thus 
e'X9j, xajuj, K^ivti, in Greek, and domus, navis, leBus, in Latin, an- 
fwer fufhcien'^Iy to houfe,Jh:p^ bed, in Englifh, on account of the 
coincidence in ufe of the things fignified, notwithftanding the lefs 
important differences in llrufture and workmanihip. 

Thefe, however, are not entirely on the fame footing with na- 
tural objects, in which there is every where, and in every age, a 
more perfed uniformity. The names ^(^X/ev, liher, book, are in 
mod cafes fuited to one another. But as the books of the an- 
cients were in outward form and conflniftion very different from 
ours, when we find any thing advanced concerning /3(^>«m in 
Greek, or liber in Latin, with an evident allufion to the outward 



make, we know that the Englilh word book is not a propex ver- 

lion. Thus the words s^'asvo? XTny^ug^KT^/i u; jSiSXiov eiXiira-cf/.itoVy Kcv. 

vi. 14. if rendered, *' heaven departed as a book that is rolled 
up," would not be intelligible, though nothing conveys a more 
dirtin£l image than the words in the original. Their books con- 
filled of" long Icrolis, commonly of parchment, fewed or palled 
together, and fallened at the ends to two rollers. Our tranfla- 
tors properly therefore employed here the more general word 
fcrolly which perfedlly conveys the meaning. Again, the word 
^^^Ktoi occurs in an application wherein the term book could not 
be rightly apprehended by a mere Englilh reader : B;,3>.,'fly ytyoss^w- 
^■tito iirai^iv KM om^^iv, Rev. V. 1 . in the common veriion, a book 
written within and en the back-fide. To fuch a reader, the laft 
term thus applied would be undertlood to mean the cover, which 
is not very fit for being written on, and could, belides, contain no 
more than might have been contained in one additional leaf, 
though the book had confided of a thoufand leaves. Now the 
long fcroUs or books of the ancients were i'eldom written but on 
one fide, here laid to be iru^-v, within^ becaufe that fide was 
turned inwards in rolling. When any of thefe fcroils was writ:- 
ten on. both fides, it contained twice as much as if written in the 
ufual.way *. The chief intention of the prophet in mentioning 
this cireumftance, muft have been to fignify that this volume 
was replete with information, and that its contents were not to 
be meafured by its fize. But notwithllanding the exceptions 
in a few particular cafes, the names of the common productions 
of the moft neceffary arts, may be confidered as fo far at lead 
correfponding to each other in moft languages, as not to throw 
any difficulty worth mentioning in the way of a tranflator. 

§ 4. The fecond clals above mentioned, is of thofe words 
which in one language do but imperfectly correfpond to any of 
the words of another language compared with it. Of this kind 
will be found, if properly attended to, moil of the terms relating 
to morals, to the pailions and matters of fentiment, or to the ob- 
j efts of the reflex and internal fenfes, in regard to which it is 
often impofliible to find words in one language that are esa6lly 
equivalent to thofe of another. This holds in all languages lefs 
or more, according as there is more or lefs uniformity in the 
conflitution, religion, and laws, of the nations whofe languages 
are compared ; on which conftitution, religion, and laws, as was 
obferved, the fentiments, manners, and culloms of the people in 
a great meafure depend. Herein confifts one principal difficulty, 
which tranllators, if perfons of penetration, have to encounter. 
Finding it fometimes impoffible to render fully the fenfe of their 
Vol. I. I . author, 

',. *(A book executed in this mana£r the Gteeks called t>xi(r^iy^ct(p<^, 
which is thus expicfled by Juvenal, " Scriptus tt intergo," Sat, i. 

66 r R E I- I M I N A R ¥ 

author, they are conftrained (if I may borrow a term from the 

xnathetnaticians) to do the bed they can by approximation. 

Tu come to examples : To the Greek, words «geT>j, (ruppo<rvyt!, 
iyt,^»re,.{, (p^iyyiri?, cAfo;, the Latin words virtus^ temperantia, con~ 
tin-ntia, utudentia. fnijericordia, are not entirely equivalent ; ftill 
lefs the Englifh words virtue, temperance, continence, prudence^ 
mercy : for though thefe laft are manifeftly formed from the La- 
tin words, one would think, that by being adopted into another 
country, they had all more or lefs changed their nature with the 
climate. Thofe perfons whofe knowledge in fuch matters is 
but fuperficia), will not enter readily into thefe fentimenta. 
They are accuftomed to confider certain words in the different 
languages as refpeftively cotrefpondent. The grammars, Itxi- 
cons, and common tranflations, lead rhem to conclude fo, and 
they enquire no further. But thofe who are converfant with 
authors of reputation in thefe different tongues, will need no ar- 
guments to convince them of the truth of what has been ad- 

Who knov/s not that the Latin word virtus would, ia many 
inftances, be but weakly, not to fay improperly, rendered by 
the Englifh word virtue ; as that word in Roman authors comes 
often nearer the import of what we call valour or fortitude, 
fometimes even hrute force ? We fhould not readily afcribe vir^ 
tue to wild beafts ; yet Tacitus fo applies the term virtus : 
** Fera animalia, {i claufa teneas, virtutis oblivifcuntur." And 
if fome of our words have too great latitude of fignification to 
anfv^'er always to their Latin etymons, fome have^ on the con- 
trary, too little. For example, the Englifh word temperance is 
too confined in meaning to anfwer to the Latin tewperantia^ 
which implies moderation in every defire, and is defined by 
Cicero in one place, "moderatio cupiditatum rationi obediens*j" 
and in another, " temperantia eft in rebus aut expetendis 
aut fugiendis, rationem ut fequamur, monet f ." Now all that 
is implied in the Englifh word is almofl only that fpecies which 
he denominates " temperantia in viftu." And though the dif- 
ferences may not be fo confiderable in all the other related words 
above mentioned, it were eafy to fhew that they cannot in every 
inftance be made to tally. 

It requires indeed but a very fmall fkill in languages to enable 
us to difcover that etymology is often a very unfafe guide to 
the proper acceptation of a term. It will not be doubted that 
the Latin -word Jobrius is the root of the Englifh vjoxA fober, and 
their term honejlum of our term honejly ; but every body ktiows 
that the related words in the two languages will not always an- 
fwer to each other. Nay, to fhew in the flrongefl manner how 
much more difficult it is than is commonly imagined, to appre- 
♦ De Fin. I. ii. \ De Fin. 1. i. 


hcnd the preclfe import and proper application of words of this 
order in dead languages, I fhall tranlcribe a lliort pafTage from 
the fourth book, of the Tufculan Queftions, where the author 
explains the generic word agritudo^ witi the various names of 
fpecies comprehended under it. Amongft other obfervations are 
the following : *' ^gritudo eft opinio recens mali prefentis, in 
" quo demitti contrahique animo rectum elTe videatur. i^gri- 
" tudini fubjiciuntur anger, moeror, dolor, lu£lus, aerumna, afflic- 
" tatio : angor eft segritudo premens, moeror Eegritudc flebilis, 
** aerumna aegritudo laboriofa, dolor agritudo crucians, -.ffliftatio 
" aegritudo cum vexatione corporis, luftus segritudo ex ejus qui 
" carus fuerat, interitu acerbo." " Let any one," fajs D'Alem- 
bert *, " examine this paflage with attention, and fay i:r.;eil:ly, 
** whether, if he had not known of it, he would have hnd any 
" idea of thefe nice (hades of fignification here marked ; and 
" whether he would not have been much embarralTed, had he 
*^ been writing a didionary, to diftinguiih v/ith accuracy the 
'• words agritudo^ marory dolor^ angor, luBus, cerumna, aJfltBa" 
*' tio. If Cicero, the greateft philofopher as well as orator that 
" ever Rome produced, had compofed a book of Latin fynony- 
" mas, fuch as that which Abbe Girard did of French ; and if 
** this work had but now for the firft time been produced in a 
" circle of modern Latinifts, I imagine it would have greatly 
*' confounded them, in Ihewing them how defedive their know- 
** ledge is of a fubjeft of which they thought themfelves maf- 
« ters." 

1 have brought this quotation, not to fupport D'Alembert's 
opinion, who maintains that it is impoffible for any modern to 
write Latin with purity ; but only to fhew hov/ much nicer a 
matter it is than is commonly fuppofed, to enter critically into 
the peculiarities of a dead language. It might be eanlj fliewn, 
were it neceflary, that diftindtions like thofe now illultrated in 
the nouns, obtain alfo in the verbs of ditTerent languages. Under 
this clafs thofe words alfo may be comprehended which are not 
barely the names of certain things, or figns of particular ideas, 
but which exprefs alfo the affeftion or dilpoiition of the fpeaker 
towards the thing fignified. In every language we fliall find 
inftances wherein the fame thing has dilFerent names, which are 
not perfeftly fynonymous ; for though there be an identity of 
fubjeft, there is a difference of manner, wherein the fpeaker ap- 
pears affe£led towards it. One term will convey the idea with 
contempt, another with abhorrence, a third with fome relifh, a 
fourth with affeftion, and a fifth with indifference. Of this 
kind are the diminutives and amplificatives which abound fo 
much in the Greek and Italian languages. 

It is this principally which juftifies Girard's obfervation, that 


' * Sur rHarmonie des Langucs, et far la Latinite dcs Modernes. 

69 P R E L I ,M I N A R i 

there are much fewer words in any language which are in al 
refpefts fjnonymous than is commonly imagined. And it is 
this which makes the felection of appofite words fo much and 
fo juftly the ftudy of an orator : for when he would operate on 
the paflious of his hearers, it is of the lafl confeqaence, that the 
terms he employs not only convey the idea of the thing fignified, 
which may be called the primary ufe : but that along with it, 
they iniinuate into the minds of the hearers the paffion of the 
fpeaker, whatever it be, love or hatred, admiration or contempt, 
averfion or delirc. This, though the lecondary ufe of the word, 
is not the lefs effential to his defign. It is chiefly from the af- 
fociated affedion that thefe afferent qualities of fynonymous 
words taken notice of by Quintilian mult be conlidered as origi- 
nating : '* Sed cum idem frequentiffime plura fignificent, quod 
*' s-vyMv.fiix vocatur, jam funt alia aliis honeiliora, fublimiora, ni- 
*' tidiora, jucundiora, vocaliora." The lafl is the only epithet 
which regards merely the found. The following will ferve for 
an example of fuch Engliih fynonymas, public fpeaker, oratory 
declaimer, haranguer, holder -forth. The fubjeft of them all is 
the fame, being what the firfl; expreffion, public fpeaker^ limply 
denotes ; the fecond exprefles alfo admiration in the perfon who 
ufes it : the third conveys difapprobation, by hinting that it is 
the fpeaker's objedt rather to excite the paffions, than to convince 
•the judgment; the fourth is difrefpeftful, and the fifth con- 

But there is a difference in words called fynonymous, ariiing 
from the cuflomary application, even when they imply little or 
nothing of either fentiment or affeclion. The three words, 
death, deceafe, demife^ all denote the fame thing. The firft is 
the fimple and familiar term ; the fecond is formal, being much 
employed in proceedings at law ; the third is ceremonious, 
and fcarcely ufed of any but princes and grandees. There are 
alfo fome words peculiar to poetry, fome to burlefque, which it 
is needlefs here to fpecify. From thefe obfervations we learn, 
that in writings where words of this fecond clafs frequently oc- 
cur, it is impoflible, in a confiltencv with either perfpicuity or 
propriety, to tranflate them uniformly by the fame terms, like 
thofe of the firft. For, as has been obferved, they are fuch as 
do not perfe£lly correfpond with the terms of a different tongue. 
You may find a word that anfwers exaftly to the word in quef- 
tion in one acceptation, that will not fuit it in another ; though 
for this purpofe fome other term may be found equally well 

It was too fervile an attempt in the firfh tranflators of the Old 
Teflament (at leaf}; of the Pentateuch, for the whole does not ap- 
pear to have been tranllafed at one time, or by the fame perfons) 
3-t this rigid uniformity in rendering the fame Hebrew words by 



tke fame Greek words, which has given fuch a peculiarity of 
idiom to the ftyle of the Septua^int, and which, iffuing thence as 
from its fountain, has infefted more or lels all the writings of 
the New Teftament. 1 might obferve further, that there arc 
fome words in the original by no means fynonymous, which have 
been almoft uniformly rendered by the fame term, partly per- 
haps through not adverting fufflcicritly to fome of the nicer diffe- 
rences of lignification, partly through a defire of avoiding, as 
much as poffible, in the tvandation, whatever might look like 
comment or paraphrafe. Of this I fhall have occafion to take 
notice afterwards. 

§ 5. The third clafs above mentioned is of thofe words in the 
language of every nation which are not capable of being tranf- 
lated into that of any people, who have not a perfeft conformity 
■with them in thofe culloms which have given rife to thofe words. 
Such are the names of \veights, meafures, and coins, which are 
for the mort part different in different countries. There is no 
way that a tranflator can properly take in fuch cafes, but to re- 
tain the original term, and give the explanation in the margin. 
This is the way which has aftually been taken, perhaps in all 
the tranflations of the Old Teftament. To fubftitute for the ori- 
ginal term a definition or circumlocution, if the word frequently 
occur, would encumber the ftyle with an offenfive multiplicity of 
vvords, and awkward repetitions, and thereby deftroy at once iH 
fimplicity, vivacity, and even perfpicuity. In this clafs we muft 
alfo rank the names of the particular rites, garments, modes, ex- 
ercifes, or diverfions, to which there is nothing limilar among 
thofe into whofe language the veriion is to be made. Of this 
clafs there are feveral words retained in the common Englifli 
tranllation ; fome of which, by reafon of their frequency, have 
been long fince naturalized amongfl: us ; as fynagogue, fabbath^ 
jubilee, purim, ephod, homer, ephah^JJjekel, gsrah, teraphim, urim 
and thummim, phylaSieries, cherubim^ feraphim, and a few others. 
Befide theie, often the names of offices, judicatories, fefts, 
parties, and the like, fcarcely admit of being transferred into a 
veriion in any other manner. It mull be owned, however, that 
in regard to fome of thefe, efpecially offices, it is a matter of 
greater nicety than is commonly imagined, to determine when 
the name ought to be rendered in the tranflation by a term im- 
perfedly correfponding, and when it ought to be retained. What 
makes the chief difficulty here is, that there are offices in every 
itate an4 in every conftitution, which are analogous to thofe of 
other Hates and conftirutions in many material circumftances, 
though they differ in many others. It is net always eafy to fay 
whether the refemblaaces or the peculiarities preponderate. If 
the former, the word ought to be tranflated, if the latter, it ought 
to be retained. The inconveniency pf an excefs in the firft way 


yo 5 R E L I \r I N A R Y 

is, that it may lead the reader into miftakes ; that of an excefa 
io the fecond is, that it occafions obfcuritj, and bj the too fre- 
quent interfperfion of uncouth and foreign words, gives the ap- 
pearance of barbarifm to a verfion. 

It may be faid however, in general, that the latter is the fafer 
error of the two. Not only does the fpeciality of the cafe af- 
ford a fuflicient apology for the ufe of fuch words ; but if either 
the dignity of the nation, which is the fubjecl, or our connection 
with the people, or intereft in their hiftory, fhall familiarize us 
to their inftitudons and cufloms, the barbarifm of the terms will 
vanifli of courfe. Who confiders now thefe names of Roman 
magiflracies, conful, pretor^ edile, cenfor, que/tor^ diEiator^ tribune^ 
as barbarous ? Yet they are not the names of offices amongft u$ 
correfpondent or fimilar to thofe among the Romans. To have 
employed inflead of them, mayor^ alderman,, Jheriffy 8cc. we 
fliould have juflly thought much more exceptionable. I have 
heard of a Dutch tranflator of Cefar's Commentaries, who al- 
ways rendered ccjiful, burgomafter, and in the fame tafle the 
names of all the other officers and magiftrates of Rome. A ver- 
iion of this kind would appear to us ridiculous. 

§ 6. It is almoft unnecelTary to obferve, that the two lafl are 
the only clafles of words wherein the ftudent will find any thing 
that can greatly puzzle him. A mere fchool-boy, with the help 
of his grammar and lexicon, may acquire all that is requifite for 
the juft interpretation of the words of the firfl clafs. Thofe of 
the third, it is manifeft, are not to be underflpod by us without 
a previous knowledge of the religious and political conflitution-s 
of the country, together with their ceremonies and ufages ; and 
thofe of the fecond, which is the matter of the greatefl delicacy 
of all, cannot be thoroughly apprehended without an acquain- 
tance with the national character, that is, the prevalent call of 
mind, manners, and fentiments of the people. So much is ne- 
ceffary in order to be mafter of the language of any country ; 
hen of fo much importance it is, in order clearly to compre- 
hend the llyle of Scripture, to be well acquainted with whatever 
oncerns the Jewifh nation. 

PART ir. 

The Origin of the Changes in the Idiom of the fexos. 

It is true that, as the New Teftaraent is written in Greek, it 
mud be of confequence that we be able to enter critically into 
the ordinary import of the words of that tongue, by being fa- 
miliarized to the genius and charadter of thofe who fpoke it. 


D t S S E R T A T i bi H ^' 7 * 

But from what has heen obferved, it is evident that, though in 
feveral cafes this knowledge may be eminently ufeful, it will not 
fuftice ; nay, in many cafes, it will be of little or no fignificancy. 
Thofe words, in particular, which have been in moft familiar uie 
with the old interpreters, and have been current in the explana- 
tions given in the Helleniftical fynagogues and fchools, have, 
with their naturalization among the Ifraelites, acquired in the 
Jewiih ufe, if I may be allowed the expreffion, an infufion of the 
national fpirit. Though the words therefore are Greek, Jewifh 
erudition is of more fervice than Grecian, far bringing us to the 
true acceptation of them in the facred writings. Would you 
know the full import of the words «y<«j-^«j, for example, and 
^tK.ui6(rvvn in the New Teftament ? It will be in vain to rummage 
the dallies. Turn to the pages of the Old Teftament. It will 
avail little to recur to the Greek roots uytoi and hKn. Examine 
the extent given to the fignification of the Hebrew roots ^ip 
iadajh, and p'^lf tfadak, which have given occafion to the in- 
troduftion of thofe Greek terms into the tranflation of the Se- 

§ 2. Claffical ufe, both in Greek and in Latin, is not only in 
this ftudy fometimes unavailable, but may even miflead. The 
facred ufe and the claffical are often very different. We know 
the import of the word faniiitas in the Vulgate and in eccle- 
fiaftical writers, and that it anfwers exadtly enough to our own 
word fan&ity derived from it. Yet from Cicero's account, it is 
plain that, in modern European tongues, we have no word cbr- 
refponding to it in its primitive and claffical ufe. *' ^Equitas," 
fays he, " tripartita dicitur effe. Una ad fuperos deos, altera ad 
manes, tertia ad homines pertinere ; priraa pietas, fecunda fanc- 
titas^ ttni'a. juftitia nominatur *." According to him, therefore, 
the Latin word fanEiiias imports equity or fuitable regards to- 
wards the infernal gods. 

But in no inftance does the claffical fenfeof a word differ m.ore 
from that which it has invariably in the facred pages, than in th? 
term Vairjivej, which with the former is always expreffive of a bad 
quality, with the latter of a good. With us it is a virtue, with 
them it was a vice. Nor can it be juftly affirmed that the word 
exprefled the fame difpofition of mind with Pagans, as with Jews 
and Chriftians, and that the only difference was in the opinion or 
judgment formed concerning this difpofition ; that the former 
looked upon it with a favourable eye, the latter with an unfa- 
vourable. For this is far from being the cafe. The quality of 
which it is expreffive in claffical ufe is totally different from that 
which it exprefles in the facred writings. In the firft it corrcf- 
ponded exactly to, and was commonly tranflated by, the Latin 
pumilisj which in profane autho'-s always conveys a bad meaning, 

» * ToT^ica, 


and denotes fuch a feeble, mean and abje£l teoiper, as is the vefy 
reverfe of that fortitude, that fuperiority to death, Ih^me, and 
paih, which the law of Chrill fo pereniptorily exacts, and with 
•which the faith of Chrirt fo powerfully infpires the genuine dif- 
ciple. TxTTuverKu the abftraft, is comprifed by Ariltotle* under 
ui>i^«^--%iit, pufilianimity ; or, as explained by lexicographers, 
*' ai imus demiflfus et abjedus ;" and contrafted to ^iyxXo-4^vx,t»j 
magnanimity, " animi celfitudoy And to evince that the Lacia 
term, in heathen author^, has the fame meaning with the Greek, 
I need no better authority than that of Cic>;ro, who faysf, 
*' Succumbere doloribus, eofque kumili an; mo imbecilloque ferre 
" miferum eft, ob eamque debilitatem animi, multi parentes, 
*' multi amicos, nonnulli patriam, plerique autem feipfos penitus 
*'^ perdiderunt." To this he oppofes, ^^ Robaftus animus et ex- 
*^ celfus, qui omni eft liber cura et ^ngore, cum et mortem con- 
'* temnit," &c. The temper of mind here condemned by Cicero 
every Chriftian will condemn as much as he ; and the apphca- 
tion of the term humilis to this temper is a demonftration, that 
with him the word was the fign of an idea very different from 
that of which it has fince, in conformity to the ftyle of the Ita- 
lic tranflation, been mads the iign by ecclefiaftical authors. 

We may obferve, bv the way, that the Englifti word humility ^ 
though borrowed direftly from the Latin, conveys not the claf- 
fical, but the fcriptural fenfe of the word T^TrtreTj)? or T<js?r«v«(pg9s-w»i}, 
which Caftalio, over zealous for the Latinity of his ftyle, never 
renders humilitas^ but always modejiia. This word modejlia^ 
however, does not expiefs adequately the fenfe of the original. 
Mode/ly relates only to the opinion of men, humility relates alfo 
and principally, to the unerring judgment of God ; and includes 
fuch a combination of qualities as no fpecies of polytheifm could 
give a foundatit)n for. it implies, along with a modeft felf- 
diffidence, a fenfe of unworthinefs in the fight of God, accom- 
panied with a profound veneration of his perfeftions. Accord- 
ingly piety, meeknefs, and modeft}', make, if I may fo exprefs 
myfelf, the principal figures in the groupe. So far from invol- 
ving any thing of that weak timidity and irrefolution expreffed 
in the pallage quoted from the philofopher, as comprehended in 
the claflical fenfe of the term hutndis ; it on the contrary im- 
plies, in every fituation, a fubmiffion to the will of Heaven with- 
out repining or referve, founded in a confcioufnefs of one's own 
ignorance of what is beft upon the whole, and an unlhaken con- 
fidence in the goodnefs, wifdom, and power of God, by whofe 
providence all events are over-ruled. 

This is one of thofe terms which, in the mouth of a Jew or 
a Cbriftian, an idolater could not comprehend, till he had pre- 
vioufly acquired fome notion of the Biblical theology. To fome 

* Hi^t ce^itcov kkkixt. f De Finibus, 1. i. 


people it may appear ftrange, that fo much knowledge fhould 
be thought necellarj for qualifying one to underftand the words 
in current ufe in any language. But to thofe more deeply verfed 
in thefe matters, there will be nothing furprifing in the remark. 
They will be fenlible that the modern names, pedantry, gai' 
lantry^ foppery, coquttry^ prudery, and many others, could not 
be tranflated into any ancient language, otherwife than b}^ cir- 
cumlocutions. Montefquieu * obferves of what is called honour 
in the monarchies of Europe, that it is unknown, and confe- 
quently unnamed in the defpotifms of Afia, and that it would 
even be a matter of fome difficulty to render the term, as under- 
flood bv Europeans, intelligible to a Perfian. 

^ 3. I Ihould not have been fo particular on the different ac- 
ceptations of foine words as uied by Jews and by Pagans, but 
in order to illuilrate more eiFe£tuaily that important propofition, 
that Scripture will ever be found its own belt interpreter ; and 
to evince what was remarked before, that the manners and fen- 
timents of a people being clofely connefted with their conflitu- 
tion and cuftoms, facred and civil, h ive a powerful influence on 
the language, efpecially en thofe combinations of ideas, v^•hich 
i"erve to denote the various pbafes (pardon the unufual applica- 
tion of the term) both of virtue and of vice, as difplayed in the 
characters of individuals. For though fome traces of all the 
virtuous and all the vicious qualities of which human nature is 
fufceptible, will perhaps be found in every country, thefe quali- 
ties are greatly diverfified in their appearance, inafmuch as they 
invariably receive a kind of fignature or peculiar modification 
from the national charafter. One plain confequence of this doc- 
trine has been already conlidered, namely, that there will be a 
diverfity in the alTociated ideas clafTed under the appellatives, 
and confequently in the genius of the languages, wherever there 
is a diverfity of charafter in the nations which ufe them. 

§4.1 am now going to exemplify another confequence of 
this doctrine, which is, that the language of the fame people will 
vary from itfelf, or, to fpeak more properly, from what it was 
in a former period, when tlia people themfelves undergo a ma- 
terial alteration from what they were, in any of the refpeds 
above mentioned. Indeed it is manifeft, that if a nation fhould 
continue at the fame prec;lc degree of advancement in the fciences 
and arts both elegant and ufeful, {hould undergo no variation ia 
their form of government, religion, and laws, and ihould have 
little or no intercourfe with foreigners, their language and idiom 
would in all efiential characters remain the fame. Thefe two, 
language and idiom, though often confounded, I have had occa- 
fion to difcriminate before. The diftinCtion deferves our atten- 
tion the more, as fome of the caufes mentioned operate more 

\oi.. T. K upon 

* LT.fprlt dcs Loix, liv iii. ch. 8. U'iV Terf. 88, 


upon the one, and others more upon the other : and as one o£ 
them may be even totally ahered, whilil the other is retained. 
This was accordingly the cafe with the Jewi{h nation. 

§ 5. During the Babylonifli captivity, the Jews fcattered 
through the Affyrian provinces loft irrecoverably, in confequencc 
of the mixture with ftrangers lo much fuperior to rhem in num- 
ber and confideration, their vernacular dialeft. But in confe- 
quencc of their attachment to their religion (which included their 
polity and law^ ; in confequence of their inviolable regard to 
their own cuftoms, and of their deteftation both of the cudoms 
and of the arts of the heathen ; in confequence of their venera- 
tion for the facred books, and their never hearing any other than 
a literal verfion of them in the public offices of religion, they ftill 
in a great meafurc preferved the idiom ; infomuch that if the 
Chaldee of Jerufalem was not as different from the Chaldee of 
Babylon as the Greek of the fynagogue was from the Greek of 
the claffics, the only affignable reafon perhaps is, that the idiom 
of the Hebrew and that of the Cljaldee were originally more 
akin to each other, than the idiom of the Greek was to either. 
Now the idiom keeps a much firmer hold of the mind than the 
words, which are mere founds, do, and which, compared with 
the other, may be confidered as but the bf.dy, the material part 
of a language, whereof the idiom is the foul. 

Though the Jewifh tongue therefore became different, their 
idiom was nearly the fame 1 fay nearly fo ; hence we infer, 
that the knowledge of the ftyle and idiom of the Old Teftament 
muft throw light upon the New ; but it was not entirely the 
fame. Hence we conclude the utility of knowing the flate of 
the rabbinical and traditionary learning of that people in the 
days of our Saviour, this being the moll effe(flaal means of illuf- 
trating thofe particulars wherein the idiom of the New Tefta- 
ment differs from that of the Old. It was indeed impoffible 
that fuch an intercourfe with ftrangers as extirpated their lan- 
guage, fhould not be productive of fome effed on their notions 
of things, fentiments, and manners. And changes produced in 
the fentiments and manners of a people never fail to fhew them- 
felves in their writings. 

§ 6. But if what happened during their captivity had fome 
effe£t on thefe, what followed after their return to Judea had a 
much greater. The perfecutions they endured under the Gre- 
cian empire, on accouni of their religion, did, as is often the 
cafe, greatly endear it to them, and make them connder it in a 
light, in which (whatever may be faid of individuals) they feem 
never as a nation to have confidered it in before. It became 
more an objeft and a ftudy to them. Senlible how little their 
perfeverance fecured to rhem the temporal advantages held forth 
in the letter of the law, they became fond cf attending to thofe 



fpiriHial and fublime interpretations, both of the law and of the 
prophets, which ferved to fortify the mind againll all fecular 
lofl'es and misfortunes, and infpire it with hope in the immediate 
views of torture and of death. BeHdes, the intercourfe which, 
from the time of the Macedonian conquefts, they unavoidably 
had with the Greeks, introduced infenfiblj into their manner of 
treating religion, an infufiou of the philofophic fpirit, with which 
the 7 had before been utterly unacquainted. 

The Greeks were perhaps the moil inquifitive, the moft inge- 
nious, and the moll dilputatious people that ever appeared upon 
the earth. The uncommon importance which the Jews attribu- 
ted to their religious peculiarities, both in doSrine and in cere- 
monies, and their abhorrence of the ceremonies of other nations, 
with whom they would have no intercommunity in worfhip, 
could not fail to provoke the fcrutiny and contradiction of a peo- 
ple at once fo acute and fo conceited as the Greeks. The Jews 
alfo in felf-defence began to fcrutinize and argue. On examin- 
ing and comparing, they perceived in a flronger light than ever, 
the inexpreflible futility and abfurdity of the mythology of the 
Greeks, and the noble iimplicity, purity, and fublimity of their 
own theology. The fpirit of inquiry begot among them, as 
might have been expeded, the fpirit of dogmatizing, a fpirit 
quite unknown to their anceftors, though many centuries had 
elapfed from their eftablilhment in Canaan to the period of which 
I am fpeaking. One of the firfl confequences of the dogmatical 
fpirit was a divifion into fadions and icSts. 

In this ftate we find them in the days of our Lord ; the whole 
nation being fplit into Pharifees, Sadducees, and EiTenes. Now 
of fuch party diftinctions there is not a fingle veltige in the Old 
Teftament. The dogmatifts on the different iides would have 
recourfe to different theories, the theories would give rife to par- 
ticular phrafes, by which the peculiar opinions of the partizans 
would be expreffed, and even to particular applications of the 
words and phrafes to which they had been accuffcomed befere. 
Hence the ufcfulnefs of underflatiding their differences, and te- 
nets, and manner of expounding facred writ. 

• § 7. But though the differences in opinions and modes of ex- 
pofition \vhich prevailed in the different feSs, do not much affe& 
the ftyle of the Hillorical part of the New Teftament, which in 
its nature gives lefs occafion for inLToduciag fubtleties in fpecu- 
latlon, and was Vv'ritten by men who, from their education, can- 
not be fuppofed to have entered much into the polemical dif- 
cuffions of thofe days, they may reafonably be fuppofed to a£» 
fed th€ ftyle of the eoiftolarv writings, efpecially of Patil, who 
Was an adept in all the Jewilh leammg of the age. Indeed we 
learn from Philo, Jofephus, and the talmudical writers, that their 
•literati at that period were become fond of siffigning a moral &g- 
'»- nificance 


nificance and purpofe to all the ritual obfervances of the la^v, 
and of applying the words and phrafes relating to thefe in a cer- 
tain figurati%'e and myftical manner. That in their mode of 
application they would often be whimfical, I do not deny j but 
that the New Teftament itfelf gives ground to think that their 
ceremonies and carnal ordinances, as the apoftle calls them, Heb. 
ix. 10. were intended to adumbrate fome fpiritual and more im- 
portant inftru£lions, appears to me uncontrovertible. 

But whatever be in this, it muft be allowed to be a matter of 
fome moment, that we form a right notion of the different dog- 
mas and prevailing tafte of the time. The reafon is evident. 
The facred writers, in addreffing thofe of their own nation, 
■would doubtlefs, in order to be undqrllocd, adapt themfelves, as 
thcir great Matter had done before them, to the prevailing idiom 
and phrafeology. Now this is to be learned only from the com- 
mon ufages, and from the reigning modes of thinking and rea- 
foning which diilinguifhed the people in that age and nation. 


The Bijiculties found in tranjlating the Scriptures. 

It can fcarcely admit a doubt, that as every language has in it 
fomething peculiar, and as the people of every nation have cuf- 
toms, rites, and manners wherein they are lingular ; each tongue 
will have its fpecial difficulties, which will always be the greater 
to ftrangers, the more remote the cttftoms, rites, and manners of 
the nation are from the cuftoms, rites, and manners of other na- 
tions : for in the fame proportion the genius of the tongue will 
differ from that of other tongues. If fo, it is no wonder that the 
diflinguiftiing particularity of the Jews in conftitution, fentiments, 
ceremonies, and laws, fliould render it more difHcult to tranflate 
with juftnefs from their language, than to tranflate from the lan- 
guage of any people who, in all the refpefts aforementioned, do 
not fo remarkably differ from others. 

It may be proper here to point out more particularly v/here 
difficulties of this kind will be found principally to lie. It is 
evident that they will not at all afFeft the conftruclion of the 
fentences, or the inflexions of the words. The analogy of the 
language, and its whole grammatical llrufture, may be very 
fimple and eafily acquired, whatever be the cufloms of the peo- 
ple, or how extraordinary foever they may appear to us. Fur- 
ther, limple narration is not that kind of writing which will be 
much afFefted by thofe difficulties. The nouns which occur in 



it are generally of tbe firft ciafs, mentioned in the preceding part 
of this Difiertation. And in thefe, from the principles formerly 
explained, the interpreter will not often meet with any thing to 
retard his progrefs. If the narrative be of matters which con- 
cern the community at large, as in civil hiitory, there wjH no 
doubt be frequent recourfe to the words of the third ciafs. Bat 
in regard to thefe, the method of adopting the original term, 
eftabliftied by univerfal practice, and founded in neceffity, v;here- 
by tranflators extricate themfelves when correfpondent terras 
cannot be fov\nd, does in efFeft remove the difficulty. And evea 
when words of the fecond d.afs occur, as will fometimes happen, 
there is a greater probability that the coatext will afcertain their 
meaning in an hiftorical work, than there is where they occur 
in any other kind of writing, fuch as the didactic, the declama- 
tory, the proverbial or aphorillic, and the argumentative. 

This is the firft difficulty proper to be mentioned, arifing from 
difference of manners, a difficulty which cannut be faid to affecv 
the facred writings peculiarly, otherwife than in degree. It is 
always the harder to reach in a verfion the piecife figuification 
of the words of the original, the wider the diilance is in fenti- 
ments and mannecs, between the nation in whofe language the 
book is written, and the nation into wiiofe language it is to be 

§ 2. The fecond difficulty I fhall take notice of arifes from 
the penury of words in the ancient oriental languages, at leafl hi 
the Hebrew, a natural confequence cf the fimplicity of the peo- 
ple, the little proficiency made by them in fciences and arts, and 
their early withdrawing themfelves, on account of religion, from 
the people of other nations. The fewer the words are in any 
language, the more extenfive commonly is the fignification given 
to every word ; and the more extenfive the fignificatioi-; of a word 
is, there is the greater rilk of its being mifunderftood in any par- 
ticular application ; befides, the fewnefs of words always obliges 
writers of enlarged minds, for the fake of fupplying the defi- 
ciency, frequently to recur to metaphor, fynecdoche, metonomy, 
catachrefis, and other rhetorical tropes. Thefe accordingly are 
always found to abound moft in the fcantiefl tongues. Now the 
frequent ufe of tropes occafions an unavoidable obfcurUy and 
fometimes ambiguity in the expreffion. 

§ 3. A third difficulty arifes from the penury of books extant 
in the genuine ancient Hebrew, there being no more than the 
books of the Old Teftament, and not even all thefe. When we 
conlider the manner in which the knowledge cf any language, 
even of our native tongue, is acquired, we find it is fol:ly by 
attending to the feveral ways in which words are ufed in a valt 
variety of occurrences and applications, that the precife meaning 
is afcertained. As it is prii^cipaliy from converfation in our 


7? P R E L I !\r r N A R •? 

mother-tongne, or in any living language which we learn from 
thofe who fpeak it, that we have occaiion to obferve this variety, 
fo it is only in books that we have occadon to obferve it, when 
employed in the acquifition of a dead language. Confequently, 
the fewer the books are, there is the greater rifk of miltaking 
the fenfe, efpecially of thofe words that do not frequently occur. 
This has given rife to doubts about the meaning of fome words, 
even of the firft clafs, to wit, the names of a few natural objefts, 
as plants, animals, and precious ftones, which occur but very 
tarely in Scripture, and in pafTages where fuffi:ient light cannot 
be had from the context. 

§ 4. It may indeed be faid that, as the writers of the New 
Teftament employed not the Hebrew but the Greek language in 
their compofitions, neither of the two remarks lad mentioned 
can afFetl them, how^ever they may affecl the penmen of the Old. 
The Greek is indeed a mort copioui language, and the books 
written in it are very numerous. But whoever would argue in 
this manner mult have forgotten, what has been fully evinced in 
the former Diflertation, that though the words, the inflexion, 
and the conliruftion in the books of the New Teftament are 
Greek, the idiom is ftri£tly Hebraical ; or at leaft he muft not 
have reflected on the inevitable confequences of this doftrine, on« 
of which is, that the Hebraillic Greek, or Greek of the fyna- 
goguCj as it has been called, will, in a great meafure, labour un- 
der the fame inconveniencies and defeds with the tongue on 
which its idiom is formed. Another cnnfequence is, that the 
fcarcity of books in the language which is the parent of the 
idiom, is in efFeft a fcarcity of the lights that are neceffary, or at 
leaft convenient for the eafier difcovery cf the peculiarities of 
the idiomatic tongue formed upon it. The reafon of both is 
bbvious ; it is from that language we muft learn the import of 
the phrafes, and even fometimes of particular words, which 
otherwife wooJd often prove unintelligible. 

f 5. The fourth difficulty which the interpreter of the Bible 
has to encounter, arifes from the nature of the prophetic ftyle, a 
ftyle highly figurative, or, as fome critics have thought proper 
to denominate it, fymbolical. The fyrnbolical or typical is, in 
my apprehenfit)n, very much akin to what may be called the 
allegoric ftyle. There is, however, this difference : the fymbols 
employed in prophecy have, like the Egyptian hieroglyphs, ac- 
quired a cuftomary interpretation from the eftablifhed ufe in that 
mode of writing, and are feldom or nev^r varied ; whereas the 
allegory is more ?t the difcretion of the writer. One confe- 
quence of this is, that in the fonner there is not required tht 
fame exaclncfs of rcfemblance between the fymbols, or the types 
and their antitypes, as is required in allegory. The reafon fa 
obvious. The ufual application fupplies the defcds in the-firft ; 



•whereas, in the fecond, it is folely by an accuracy of refemhlaiice 
that an allegory can be diftinguiilied from a riddle. 

This difficulty however in the prophetic llyle, may be faid 
more ftriftly to affcd the expounder of the facred oracles than 
the trauflator. For in this mode of writing there are two fenles 
exhibited to the intelligent reader ; firfl, the literal, and then the 
figurative ; for, as the words are intended to be the vehicle of 
the literal fenfe to the man who underltands the language, fo 
the literal lente is intended to be the vehicle of the figurative to 
the man whole underllanding is exercifed *'• to difcern the thing? 
of the Spirit." It is to fuch therefore in a particular manner, 
that whatever is written in the fymbolic HjIq in the New Teila- 
meiit is addreiled.. Our Lord, to dlftinguifli fuch from the un, 
thinking multitude, calls them thofe wtio have ears to hear. 
Whqfo hath ears to hear, fays he, let him hear^ Matt. xi. 15. 
xiii. 9. Mark iv. 9. Luke viii. 8. The fame expreffion is 
alfo ufed in the Apocalypfe, (Rev. ii. 7. 11. 17. 29.) a book of 
prophecies. And it deferves to be attended to, that Jefus Chrift 
never employs thefe words in the introduction or the conclufion 
of any plain moral initrudlions, but always after feme parable or 
prophetic declarations figuratively exprciTed. Now it is with 
the literal fenfe only that the tranflator, as fuch, is concerned. 
For the literal fenfe ought inva'iably to be coiiveyed into the 
verfion, where, if you dilcover the antitype or niylliciil fenfe, it 
mult be, though not through the fame words, through the fame 
emblems, as you do in the original. 

This alfo holds in tranflat"aj allegory, apologue, and parable. 
A man may render them exactly into another tongue, who has 
no apprehenfion of the figurative feafe. Who can doubt that 
any fable of Efop or Phedrus, for example, may be tranflated 
■with as much juftnefs by one who has not been told, and does 
not fo much as guefs the moral, as by one who knows it per- 
feclly ? Whereas the principal concern of the expounder is to 
difcover the figurative import. In the New Teftament indeed 
there is only one book, the Apocalypfe, written entirely in the 
prophetic ityle ; and it muft be allowed that that book may be 
accurately tranflated by one who has no apprehenfion of the fpi- 
ritual meaning. However, in the greater part both of the hifto- 
rical and of the epiilolary writings, there are prophecies inter- 
fperfed. Befides, fome knowledge in the diction and mmner of 
the prophets is neceflary for the better apprehenfion of the appli- 
cation made in the New Teilament, of the prophecies of the 
Old, and the reafonings of the apoftles in regard to thofe prophe- 
cies, — Indeed it may be affirmed in general, that for tranfliting 
jnftly what is of a mixed character, where the emblemafic is 
blended with the hiftorical, fome knowledge of the my flic ap- 

8o pRELurrNARy 

plications is more eflential, than for tranflaticg unmixed pro- 
phecy, sWegory, or parable. 

§6.1 ihall mention as the caufe of a fifth difficulty in the ex- 
amination, and confequently in the right interpretation of the 
Scriptures, that before we begin to ftudy them critically, we 
have been accuftomed to read them in a tranflation, whence we 
have acquired a habit of confideriog many ancient and oriental 
terms, as perfe<^ly equivalent to certain words in modern ufe, 
in our own language, by which the other have been commonly 
rendered. And this haoit, without a confiderable fhare of know- 
ledge, attention, and difcernment, is almolf never perfedlly to be 
furmounted. What makes the difficulty ftill the greater is, that* 
when v/e begin to become acquainted with other verfions befide 
that into our mother- tongue — fuppofe Latin, French, Italian ; 
thefe, in many inftances, inftead of correcting, ferve but to con- 
firm the effeifl. For in thefe tranilations we find the fame words 
in the original, uniformly rendered by words, which we know- 
to correfpond exactly, in the prefent ufe of thofe tongues, to the 
terms employed in our own tranflation. 

I hope I ihall not be fo far mifunderflood by any as to be fup- 
pofed to infinuate, by this remark, that people ought to delay 
reading the Scriptures in a tranflation, till they be capable of 
confulting the original. This would be to debar the greater part 
of mankind from the ufe of them altogether, and to give up the 
many immenfe advantages derived from the inftruftions contain- 
ed in the very word verfions of that book, for the fake of avoid- 
i;.-; a few miflakes, comparative! v fmall, into which one may be 
drawn even by the beft. A child muft not be hindered from 
ufing his legs in walking, on pretence that if he be allowed to 
walk, it will be impolTib'.e always to fecure him from falling. 
My intention in remarking this difficulty, is to fbow firfl that 
thofe early ftudies, however proper and even neceflary in Chri- 
flians, are neverthelefs attended with this inconveniency, that at 
a time when we are incompetent judges, prepoffeflions are infen- 
fibly formed on mere habit or aflbeiation, which afterwards, 
when the judgment is more mature, cannot eafily be furmounted ; 
2dly, to account in part, without recurring to obfcurity in the 
original, for the greater difficulty faid to be found in explaining 
holy writ, than in expounding other works of equal antiquity ; 
and, 3dly, to awake a proper circumfpeclion and caution in every 
one who would examine the Scriptures with that attention which 
the ineffable importance of the fubjecl merits. 

But, in order to fet the obfervation itfelf in relation to this 
fifth difficulty in the ftrongefl light, it would be neceffary to trace 
the origin, and give as it were the hiflory of fome terms, which 
have become technical amongfl ecclefiaflical writers, pointing 
out the changes which in a courfe of ages they have infenfibly 




undergone. When alterations are produced by flow degrees. 
they always efcape the notice of the generality of people, and 
fometimes even of the more difcerning. For a term once unz- 
verfally underftood to be equivalent to an original term whofe 
place it occupies in the trar.flation, will naturally be fuppofed to 
be ftill equivalent, by thofe who do not fuiTiciently attend to thp 
variations in the meanings of words, which the tract of time and 
the alterations in notions and culloms thence arifing, have im- 
perceptibly introduced. Sometimes etymology too contributes 
to favour the deception. Is there one of a thoufand, even arnqng; 
the readers of the original, who entertains the fmalleft fuf^icion 
that the words, hlajphemy, herefy, myjiery, fchifm. do net con- 
vey to moderns precifely the fame ideas which the Greek words 
pX*<r^f^t», cti^iTii, ^yrj)^<av, s-yjr.-fMc, in the New Teflament, convey- 
ed to Chriltians in the times of the apoftles ? Yet that thefe 
Greek and Englifh words are far from correfponding perfeftly, 
I lliall take an occafion of evincing afterwards *. The fame 
thing may be affirmed of feveral other words, and even phrafes, 
which retain tlieir currency on religious fubjecls, though very 
much altered in their iigniflcation. 

§ 7. The fixth and laft difficulty, and perhaps the greatefl ol 
all, arifes from this, that our opinions on religions fubjecls are 
commonly formed, not indeed before we read the Scriptures, but 
before we have examined them. The ordinary confequence is, 
that men afterwards do not fenrch the facred oracles in order to 
find out the truth, but in order to find what may authorife their 
own opinions. Nor is it indeed otherwife to be accounted for, 
that the feveral partizans of fuch an endlefs variety of adverfc 
feds (although men who on other fubje£ls appear neither weak 
nor unfair in their refearches) ftiould all, with fo much confi- 
dence, maintain that the dictates of holy writ are perfetlly de- 
cifive in fupport of their favourite dogmas, and in oppofition to 
thofe of every antagonifl:. Nor is there in the whole hillory of 
mankind a clearer demonftration than this, of the amazi g power 
of prejudice and prepofieffion 

It may be faid, that interefi: often warps men's judgment, and 
gives them a bias towards thar fide of a quellion in which they 
find their account ; nay, it may even be urged further, that in 
cafes in which it has no influence on the head, it may feduce the 
heart, and excite firenuous combatants in defence of a fyflem 
which they themfelves do not believe I ack-iovledge that t; efe 
fuppofitions are not of things impofTible. Adual in fiances may 
be found of both. Bat for the honour of human nature, I would, 
wifh to think that thofe of the fecond clals now mentioned, ^re 
far from being numerous. But whatever be in this, we cer- 
tainly have, in cafes wherein interefi s entirely on: of the quef- 

VoL. I. L * tion, 

* Differtation !.k. 


tion, nay, wherein it appears evidently or the oppofite fide, irre>» 
fragable proofs of the power of prepoirelTiOn, infomuch that one 
would alniofl imagine that, in matters of opinion, as in matters 
of property, a right were conftituted merely by pre-occupancy. 
This ferves alfo to account in part for the great diverfity of fen- 
timents in regard to the fenfe of Scripture, without recurring to 
the common plea of the Romanifls, its obfcurity and ambiguity. 
§ 8. Thus the principal difficulties to be encountered in the 
iludy of Biblical criticifm are fix, arifing, ift, from the fingula- 
rity of Jewifh cufl:oms ; zdly, from the poverty (as appears) . of 
their native language ; 3dly, from the fewnefs of the books ex- 
tant in it ; 4thly, from the fymbolical ftyle of the prophets ; 
5thly, from the exceffive influence which a previous acquaintance 
with tranflations may have occafioned ; and, 6thly, from pre- 
pofleffions, ia what way foev^r acquired, in regard to religious 





X; ROM what has been evinced in the preceding difcourfe, it will 
not impiobably be concluded that the ftjle of holy writ, both of 
the New Teftament and of the Old, of the hiftorical books as 
well as of the prophetical and the argumentative, muft be gene- 
rally obfcure and often ambiguous. So much, and with fo great 
plaulibility and acutenefs, has been written by fome learned men, 
in proving this point, that were a perfon, before he ever read the 
Scriptures, either in the original or in a tranflation, to confider 
every topic they have employed, and to obferve how much, in re- 
gard to the truih of fuch topics, is admitted by thofe who cannot 
entirely acquiefce in the conclulion, he w^ould infallibly defpair 
of reaping any inftruiStion that could be depended on from the 
ftudy of the Bible, and would be almofl tempted to pronounce it 
altogether unprofitable. 

What can exceed the declarations to this purpofe of the cele- 
brated Father Simon, a very eminent critic, and probably the 
greateft oriental fcholar of his age ? " We ought," fays he *, 
" to regard it as unqueftionable, that the greater part of the He- 
** brew v^rords are equivocal, and that their iignification is entire- 
*' ly uncertain. For this reafon, when a tranflator employs in 
" his verfion the interpretation which he thinks the beft, he can- 
** not fay abfolutely that that interpretation exprelTes truly what 
" is contained in the original. There is always ground to doubt 
" whether the fenfe which he gives to the Hebrew vsrords be the 

" true 

* Hift. Crlt. du V. T. liv iii. ch, ii. On doit fappofer comme une 
ch^fe conftante, que la plus part des mots Hebreux font equivoques, et 
que Ifur fign fica-ion eft fnticremertt incertains. C'cft pourquoi lors qu'un 
tradufteur employe dans fa veifion I'iiitery.retation qu'il juge la meilleure, 
on ne peut pas dir"^ abfolutr.ent, que cette interpretation exprime au vrai 
ce qui eft contenu dans rorigiml. II y ;. toujour^ Heu de douter, fi le fePS 
qu'on donne aux mots Hebrcux eil le veritable, puis qu'il y en a d'autrcs 
qui ont autant i<r probabilitc. 

84 f R E L I M 1 N A R Y 

** true fenfe, bccaufe there are other meanings which are equally 
*• probable." Again *, " They (the Proteftants) do not confider 
*' that even the moil learned Jews doubt almoft every where 
*' concerning the proper figniiication of the Hebrew words, and 
*' that the Hebrew lexicons compofed by them, commonly con- 
*' tain nothing but uncertain conjedures." Now, if matters were 
really as here reprefented, there could be no queftion that the 
ftudy of Scripture would be mere lofs of time, and that, what- 
ever might be affirmed of the ages of the ancient prophets, it 
could not be faid at prtfent, that there is any revelation extant 
of what preceded the times of the apoflles. For a revelation 
which contains nothing but matter of doubt and conje£ture, and 
from which I cannot raife even a probable opinion that is not 
counterbalanced by opinions equally probable, is no revelation at 
all. How defedtive, on this hypothecs, the New Teftament 
would be, which every where prefuppofes the knowledge and 
belief of the Old ; and in many places, how inexplicable with- 
out that knowledge, it is needlefs to mention. 

\ 2. It would not be eafy to account for exaggerations fo ex- 
travagant in an author fo judicious, and commonly fo moderate, 
but by obferving that his immediate aim, whereof he never lofes 
fight, throughout his whole elaborate performance, is to eftablifh 
TRADITION as the foundation of all the knowledge necefTary for 
the faith and pradlice of a Chriftian. Scripture doubtlefs has 
its difficulties ; but we know at lead what and where it is. As 
for tradition^ what it is, how it is to be fought, and where it is 
to be found, it has never yet been in the power of any man to 
explain to the fatisfa£tion of a reafonable inquirer. We are al- 
ready in pofleffion of the former, if we can but expound it. We 
cannot fay fo much of the latter, which, like Nebuchadnezzar's 
dream, we have firft to find, and then to interpret. 

I am not ignorant that Simon's principal aim has been repre- 
fented by fomr of his own communion, particularly Boffuet, bi- 
ihop of Meaux, as ftill more hoftile to religion, than from the ac- 
count above given we fhould conclude it to be. That celebrated 
and fubtle difputant did not hefitate to maintain that, under the 
fpecious pretext of fupporting the authority of the church, this 
prieft of the Oratory undermined Chriftianity itfelf, a proceeding 
which in the end mull prove fatal to an authority that has no 
other foundation to reft upon. The Bilhop accordingly infills 
that the general tendency of his argument, as appears in every 
part of the work, is to infinuate a refined Socinianifm, if not an 


* Hift. Crit. du V. T. liv. iii. ch. iv. IIj n'ont pas pris garde, que 
ccemc les plut fcavans Juifs doutent ptefque par tout de la fignification 
prapre des mots Hebreiix, et que Ics didlionaircs qu'ils ont compofes de 
}a langue Hcbraique ne conticnnent le plus fouvcnt que dc conjcdures 


univerfal fcepticifm. Certain it is, that the ambiguous manner 
often adopted by our critical hirtorian, and the aJdr:lb with whicli 
he fometimes eludes the expedlation of his readers, add not a 
little probability to the realoning of this acute anragonift. When 
to any flagrant milinterpretation of a portion of Scripture men- 
tioned in his work, we expect his anlwer from a critical exauii- 
nation of the paflage, we are filenced with the tradition and au- 
thority of the church, urged in fuch a way as evidently fuggefts 
that without recurring to her decifion, there is no poffibility ot 
refuting the objeftions of adverfaries, or difcovering the truth ; 
and that our own reaionings unchecked by her, if they did not 
fubvert our faith altogether, would infallibly plunge us into all 
the errors of Socinus. Thus mod of his difcuilions concerning 
the import of the facred text conclude in an alternative which, 
whilft it conceals his own fentiments, bewilders his readers. 
The purport is, * If ye will be rational, ye mull foon ceal'e to 

* be Chrillians ; and if ye will be Chriftians, ye muft (where- 

* ever religion is concerned) ceafe to be rational.' This alterna- 
tive of faith or reafon, though not exprefled in io many words, 
is but too plainly implied in thofe he ufes. If for Chrijiian he 
had fubftituted Roman Catholic^ or even any one denominalion of 
Chriftians, the lentiment would not have been fo generally con- 
troverted. As it is, he offers no other choice, but to believt 
ev^ery thing, how abfurd foever, on an authority into the founda- 
tions of which we are not permitted to enquire, or to believe no- 
thing at all. The Critical Hiftory has accordingly been obfcr- 
ved to produce two contrary efFe£is on readers of oppofite cha- 
rafters. Of the weak and timid, i: often makes implicit hdie- 
vers : of the intelligent and daring, it makes /rce- thinners. To 
which fide the author himfelf leaned moft, it would perhaps be 
prefumptuous to fay. But as his perfonal charade r and known 
abilities were much more concrenial to thofe of the latter clafs 


than to thofe of the former, it was no wonder that he fell under 
fufpicion with fome fiirewd but zealous Catholics, who looked 
on his zeal for tradition as no better than a difguife. But this 
only by the way. I mean not to conlider here what was his 
real and ultimate fcope in the treatlfe above mentioned ; it is 
enough for my purpofe to examine his profeffed intention, which 
is to fupport tradition by reprefenting Scripture as, in confequence 
of its obfcurity, infufficient evidence of any dodrine. 

That Simon's alTertions above quoted are without bounds hy- 
perbolical, can fcarcely be doubted by any perfon v.ho reflefts. 
Of tlie prophetical writings I ani not now to fpeak, though even, 
with regard to them, it were eafy to fhevv that fuch things could 
not be affirmed in an entire confiftency with truth. As to the 
hiftorical books, 1 hope to prove, notwithftanding all that has 
been evinced on oac fide and admitted on the other, that they are 


in general remarkable for perfplcuitj. It is true that our know- 
ledge of the tongue, for the reafons above mentioned, is defec- 
tive ; but it is alfo true, that this dcfeft is feldom fo great as 
materially to darken the hiftorj, efpeciallj the more early part 
of it. 

§ 3. The firfl: quality for which the facred hiftory is remark- 
able, is fimplicity. The Hebrew is a limple language. Their 
verbs have not, like Greek and Latin, a variety of moods and 
tenfes, nor do they, like the modern languages, abound in auxi- 
liaries and conjunftions. The confcquence is, that in narrative 
they exprefs by feveral fimple fentences*, much in the way of the 
relations ufual in convcrfation, what in mod other languages 
would be comprehended in one complex fentence of three or four 
members. Though the latter m.ethod has many advantages in 
refpert of elegance, harmony and variety, and is elTential to v^hat 
is llritlly called ftyle, the former is incomparably more perfpi- 
cuous. Accordingly we may often obferve, that unlettered peo- 
ple who are very attentive to a familiar flory told in their own 
homely manner, and perfeclly underfland it, quickly lofe atten- 
tion to almofl any written hiilory, e'/en the moft interefting, the 
hiftory contained in the Scriptures alone excepted. Nor is the 
fole reafon of this exception becaufe they sj-e more accuftomed 
to that hiftory than to any other, though no doubt this circum- 
ftance contributes to the eifeft ; but it is chiefly becaufe the fim- 
plicity of the diction brings it to the level of ordinary talk, and 
confequcntlv cioes not put the minds of people who are no readers 
fo much to the ftrctch as what is written, ^even in the leaft la- 
boured ftyle of compofition, in any modern tongue, does in re- 
gard to thofe acquainted with the tongue. 

§ 4. Take for an example of the fimplicity here meant, the 
firft paragraph of Genefis, confifting of five not long verfes, and 
containing not fewer than eleven fentences. The common punc- 
tuation does not indeed make them fo many. But that is of no 
moment. When fentences are very ihort, we ufually feparate 
them by femicolons, fometimes by commas ; but that is a com- 
plete fentence, in whatever way pointed, wjiich conveys a mean- 
ing fully enunciated, and intelligible independently of what pre- 
cedes or what follows ; w))en what precedes, and what follows, 
is alfo intelligible, independently of it. i. In the beginning God 
created the heaven arid the earth. 2- And the earth icas with- 
out Jorm and void. ^. And dathnefs was upon the face of the 
deep. 4. And the Jpirit of God moved 7ipon the face of the iffl- 
icrs. 5. And God faid. Let there be light, 6. And there ivas 
light. 7. And God faw the light, that it li'fij good. 8. And 
God divided the tight from the darknefs. 9. And God called the 
light day. ic. And the darknefs he called night. 11. And the 
evsitir.g and the morning were the fii-fl day. This is a juft repre- 



fentation of the ftrain of the original. A more perfect example 
of fimplicity of ftrutlure we caa nowhere tiiid. The fenteuc^s 
are limple ; the fubflantives are not atteuded by adjetlives, nor 
the verbs by adverbs, no fynonymas, no fuperlatives, no etFort 
at exprefllng things in a bold, emphatical, or uncommon man- 

In order to judge of the difference of this manner from that of 
ordinary compofitions, we need only compare with it Caftalio's 
verfion of the palTage into Latin, wherein all, except the tirll fen- 
tence and the laft, and coniequently nine of thofe above recited, 
are comprifed in one complicated period. '* 1. Principio creavit 
*' Deus coelum et terram. 2. Quum autem elTet terra Lners at- 
** que rudis, tenebrifque efFafum profundum, et diviniis fpiritus 
*' fefe fuper aquas libraret, juflit Deas ut exifteret lux, et extitit 
" lux ; quam quum videret Deus eiTe bonam, lucem lecrevit a 
*• tenebris, et lucem diem, et tenebras no6lem appellavit. 3. Ita 
^' extitit ex vefpere et mane dies primus." Compare with this 
the verfion of the fame paflage in the Vulgate, which is literal 
like the Englifh. " In principio crea\"it Deus ccelum et terram. 
" Terra autem erat inanis et vacua, et tenebrae erant fuper facieai 
*^ abyfli : Et fpiritus Dei ferebatur fuper aquas. Dixitque 
** Deus, Fiat lux. Et facta ell lux. Et vidit Deus lucem quod 
*' effet bona. Et divifit lucem a tenebris. Appellavitque lucem 
*' diem, et tenebras noclem. Faftumque eli vefpere et mane 
** dies unus." The difference between thefe in point of perfpi- 
cuity, is to an ordinary hearer extremely great. So much de- 
pends on the fimplicity of flruiflure, neceffarily ariling in fome 
degree from the form of the language. Nothing is more cha- 
rafteriflic of the fimple rr.anner than the introduction of what 
was fpoken, directly in the words of the fpeaker ; whereas in 
the periodic ityle we are informed obliquely of its purport. Thus 
what is in the Vulgate, " Dixit Deus^ Fiat lux," is in Caftalio, 
** J^JF''^ ^^"^ ^^ exifteret lux." 

§ 5. But befide this, there is a fimplicity of fentiment, parti- 
cularly in the Pentateuch, arifing from the very nature of the 
early and uncultivated flate of fociety about which that book is 
converfant. This renders the narrative in general extremely 
clear and engaging. Simple manners are more eafily defcribed 
than manners highly polifhed and refined. Being alfo adapted 
to the ordinary ranks of people and to all capacities, they m.uch 
more generally excite attention, and intereft the heart. It has 
been remarked, not unjuftly, that though no two authors wrote 
in languages more v/idely different, both in genius and in form, 
than Mofes and Homer, or treated of people who in their reli- 
gious opinions and ceremonies were more oppofite than were the 
Hebrews and the Greeks, we fhall hardly find any who refemble 
pne another morp than thefe wiiters, in an affeding and perfpi- 



cuous fimplicity, which fuits almoll every tafte, and is level to 
every underftanding. Let it be obferved, that in this comparifon 
I have no allufion to imagery, or to any quality of didlion, ex- 
cept that above mentioned. Now nothing contributes more to 
this refemblance than this circumltance which they have in com- 
mon, that both prefent to our view a rude, becaufe little culti- 
vated, ftate of human beings and politics. The paffions and the 
motives of the men recorded by them, difplay themfelves with- 
out difguife. There is fomething wonderfully fimple and artkfa 
even in the artifices related in their writings. If nature be not 
always exhibited by them naked, Ihe is drclTed in a plain decent 
garb, which, far from difguifmg, accommodates her, and Qiews 
her to advantage. Natural beauties pleafe always and univer- 
fally ; artificial ornaments depend for their elFeft on mode and 
caprice. They pleafe particular perfons only or nations, and at 
particular times. Now, as the writers above mentioned, though 
in many refpe6ls very diffimilar, refemble each other in this 
fpecies of limplicity, they alfo refemble in a certain native per- 
fpicuity invariably refulting therefrom. 

§ 6. Homer is thought by manv the mofl perfpicuous writer 
in Greek ; yet in refpecl of idiom and dialedl he is fo peculiar, 
that one is lefs affifted to underftand him by the other compoH- 
tions in the language, than to underftand any other Greek writer 
iu profe or verfe. One would almoft think that the only ufage 
in the tongue which can enable us to read him is his own. 
Were we therefore to judge from general topics which might 
plaufibly be declaimed upon, we Ihould conclude that the Iliad 
and the Odyfley are among the darkeft books in the language ; 
yet they are in fa£t the cleareft. In matters of criticifm it is 
likewife unfafe to form general conclufions from a few examples, 
which may be pompoufly difplayed, and, w hen brought into view 
together, made appear confiderable, but are as nothing in num- 
ber, compared with thofe with which it is poffible to contraft 

§ 7. Indeed moft of Simon's inftances, in fupport of his doc- 
trine of the impenetrable darknefs of Scripture, appear to me 
rather as evidences of the ftrait he was in to find appofite exam- 
ples, than as tolerable proofs of his opinion. For my part, I 
frankly own that, from the conviflion I had of the profound eru- 
dition and great abilities of the man, I was much more inclined 
to his opinion before, than after the perufal of his proofs. At 
firft I could iiot avoid fufpefting that a man of his chara£ler muft 
have had fomething extraordinary, to which J had not attended, 
to advance, in fupport of fo extraordinary a pofition. I was at 
the fame time certain that, as it was a point he had much at 
heart to enforce, the proofs he would bring from examples in 
fupport of it, would be the flrongeil he could find. 



Let us then confider fome of the principal of thefe examples. 
What pains has he not taken to flievv that {^"^11, bara, does not 
neceffarilj imply, to make out of nothing ? But if it do not, can 
any man confider this as an evidence of either the ambiguity or 
the obfcurily of Hebrew ? The do£lrine that God made the 
world out of nothing, does not reft upon the import of that verb, 
but on the whole narration, particularly on the firft verfe of Ge- 
nefis, compared with thofe which follow ; whence we learn that 
God firft made the chaotic matter, out of which he afterwards 
formed the material beings whereof the world is corapofec'. But 
palling this ; for I mean not here to inquire into the grounds of 
that article, but into the obfcurity of Scripture ; who fees not 
that the original term is not more ambiguous or more obfcure 
than thofe by which it is rendered into other languages ? Is -jronu, 
or even xt(^(H, in Greek, creo in Latin, or create in Englilh, more 
definite ? Not in the leaft, as we may learn from the common 
dictionaries of thefe languages. In regard even to the fcripriirai 
ufe of the Englilh word, God, in the two firft chapters of Gene- 
fts, is faid, in the common verfion, to have created thofe very 
things, of which we are alfo told, that he formed them out of 
the ground and out of the water. Are thefe languages then 
(and as much may be faid of all the languages I know) per- 
fedly ambiguous and obfcure ? '* It is," fays Simon *, " the 
*' tradition of the fynagogue and of the church, which limits the 
*' vague meaning of thefe firft words of Genelis." But if words 
be accounted vague^ becaufe they are general expreffions, under 
which feveral terms more fpecial are included, the much greater 
part of the nouns as well as the verbs, not of the oriental tongues 
only, but of every tongue, ancient and modern, muft be denomi- 
nated vague. Every name muft be fo that is net a proper name ; 
the name of a fpecies, becaufe applicable to many individuals ; 
more fo the name of a genus, becaufe applicable to many fpe- 
cies ; and ftill more fo, the name of a clafs or order, becaufe ap- 
plicable to many genera. 

Would it not be an abufe of Vv'ords to fay that a man fpoke 
vaguely, equivocally, or darkly, v/ho told me that he had built 
a houfe for himfelf, becaufe the verb to huild does not fuggeft 
what the materials of the building were, whether ftone, or brick, 
or wood, to any of which it may be equally applied ; and be- 
caufe the noun boufe may equally denote a houfe of one ftory, or 
of feven ftories, forty feet long, or four hundred ? As far as the 
information went, the expreflion was clear and unequivocal. But 
it did not preclude the poffibility of farther information on the 
fubjeft. And what lingle affirmation ever does preclude this ? 
Are we informed of nothing when we are told that God made 
all things S And if it (hould Idc added out of nothingy would not 

Vol. I. M this 

*'' R^ponfe aiix Sentimens de quelques Theo1. de Hollande, ch.'i$. 


this be accounted additional information, and not the removal cf 
any obfcurity in the foregoing? Would we not judge in the 
fame manner, (hould a man, after acquainting us that he had 
built his houfe, add, that it was of marble, feventy feet long, 
and three (lories high ? yet there would be ftill fcope for further 
enquiry, and further information. Is a man told nothing who 
is not told every thing ? And is every word obfcure or ambi- 
guous, that does not convey all the information that can be given 
upon the fubjedl ? This way of proving, adopted by our learned 
critic, is indeed a novelty of its kind. 

§ 8. Anocher of his examples is the word ND^ tfaha *, ren- 
dered by the Seventy wo^^tu in the Vulgate ornatus^ and by our 
tranflators hoji. Though this word be admitted to be equivocal 
taken by itfelf, as moft nouns in every language are, its import 
in this pafTage is clearly afcertained by the context to be meta- 
phorical. Whether therefore it be rendered hojl with the Eng- 
lilh interpreters, xtxr^a with the Greek, or ornatus with the 
Latin, it makes no conceivable variation in the fenfe. Nobody, 
in reading our tranflation, ever thinks of an army of men, in the 
literal acceptation, muilered in the iky. Nor is the divcrfity at 
all material, when the purport of the v/hole fentence is confider- 
ed, between the diff rent verfions which have been given of the 
two Hebrew words THH thobu^ and IHH hohu\. All concur in 
ruaking them expreffive of a chaos. 

§ 9. As to the verfion, which, according to him, may be giveti 
to the three f.rrt verfes of Genefis X, making of five or fix fimple 
fentences one complex period, little more is necefiary than to re- 
mark, that its very want of fimplicity in fuch a book, written ia 
fo early an age, is a very ftrong prefumption againfl; it, being 
not lels unfuited to the time of the hiftorian, than it is to the 
genius of the language. In what refpeci he could call it literal, 
or agreeable to the grammatical fenfe, I do not know ; fince it 
evidently departs from the ordinary import, as well as the ufual 
conftruclion of the words, and that not for giving light to a paf- 
fage otherwife obfcure (whicli may reafonably excufe a fmall 
deviation from the letter), but for involving in darknefs v,?hat is 


* Gen. ii. i. The whole verfe is in the common verfion : Thus the beam 
•vtns and the earth luere fitdjhed, and all the lioft of them. 

t Rendered in the Engli.h tranfl^tijn, 'without Jorm and void Gen. i, a. 

f The verfion ij, ••' Avant que Ditu crea le ciel et la terte, que la ttrre 
*' etoit fans forme, 8tc. que Ics tenebres etoi^nt, &.c. et que i'efpiit de 
*' Dieu. &c. Dicu dit que la lumiere ^it," Sec Literally in Eoi'l'fh, 
Before that God created the hea'uent and the earth, that the earth ivas 'without 
form and void, that durkneft tuai u^on the face cf the deep, and that the fpirit 
of God moied upon the face ef the tvaters ; Godfaid, Let there be tight, and 
there uas li^bt. Hilt. Cfit. de V T. liv. iii. ch. iii. He mentions alfo 
another rendering; *' Au comtnencennent que," Stc But thij kems only 
A more awkward way of exprefling the fame thing. 


expreffed perfpicuoufly. It is, befides, quite arbitrary. The 
copulative is thrice rendered '* ^af," that ; the fourth time it is 
omitted ; and v\'har follows is in the perfedl of the indicative, 
the preceding claufes being in the potential or fubjunclive mood. 
Now 1 rnay venture to affirm, that no conceivable reafon can be 
affigned, why this claufe fhould be made choice of for the direft 
affirmation, and not any of thofe preceding or following in the 

Add to all this, that to make n'^S"12 berejhith, a conjun6lion, 
and render it '* briufquim^'' avant que^ is not only without, but 
againft Biblical authority^ D'ti^Nl beginning, is a very common 
noun, and joined with the prepofitive "2, fignitying in, occurs ia 
four places befide this. In thefe it is uniformly rendered as 
here, <» *^yr„ in the Septuagint, and in principio in the Vulgate, 
and cannot, in a confiflencj with the words connefted, be render- 
ed otherwife. In the Targum or Chaldee paraphrafe of Onkelos 
on the books of Mofes, which in point of antiquity comes nezt 
to the Septuagint, it is rendered "('01 p3, in principiis, in con- 
formity to every other known tranflation. 

The opinion of Grotius and feme learned Rabbis, utifupported 
by either argument or example, nay, in manifeil ccntradiftion to 
both, is here of no weight. Scriptural ufage alone muft decide 
the queftion, Thefe comnlentators (with all deference to their 
erudition and abilities be it Ipoken j beiag comparatively modern, 
cannot be conlidered as ultimate judges in a queftion depending 
entirely on an ancient ufe, whereof "all the evidences that vfere 
remaining in their time, remain llill, and are as open to our exa- 
mination, as they were to theirs. In ether points where there 
may happen to be in Scripture an aHafion to cuftoms or cere- 
monies retained by the Jews, bat unknown to us. the cafe is 
dififerent. But nothing of this kind is pretended here. It is 
therefore iieedlefs to enter further into particulars. What has 
been produced above will ferve for a fpecimen of the evidence 
brought by Father Simon, of the obfcurity of the Hebrew Scrip- 
tures. And I imagine that, by the like arguments, I might un- 
dertake to prove any writing, ancient or modern, to be vague, 
ambiguous, and obfcure. 

j 10. That fome things, however, in the facred hiftory, not of 
great confequence, are ambiguous, and fome things obfcure, it 
was never my intention to queftion. But fuch things are to be 
found in every compoiition, in every language. Indeed, as the 
word perfpicuous is a relative term (for that may be perfpicuous 
to one which is obfcure to another), it muft be allowed alfo that 
the dead languages have, in this refpe£t, a difadvantage, which 
is always the greater, the lefs the language is known. As to 
the multiplicity of meanings fometimes affixed to fingle words, 
one would be at a lofs to fay what tongue, ancient or modern, is 



Tuoft chargeable with this blemilh. Any perfon accuilomed to 
confult lexicons will readily afl'ent to what I faj'. In regard to 
Englilli (in which we know that it is not impollible to write 
both unambiguoufly and perfpicuoufly), it we recur to Johnfon's 
valuable Dictionary for the fignification of the moft common 
terms, both nouns and verbs, and overlook, for a moment, our 
acquaintance with the tongue, confirmed by long and uninter- 
rupted habit, we fhall be furprifed that people can write intelli- 
gibly in it, and be apt to imagine that, in every period, nay, in 
every line, a reader will be perplexed in feled;ing the proper, out 
of fuch an immenfe variety of meanings as are given to the dif- 
ferent words *. In this view of things, the explanation of a 
fimple fentence will appear like the folufion of a riddle. 

§ li. But no fooner do we return to praSice, than thefe ima- 
ginations, founded merely on a theoretical and partial view of 
the lubjefl:, totally diiappear. Nothing can be more pertinent, 
or better founded, than the remark of Mr le Clerc, ^' That a 
•word which is equivocal by itfelf, is often fo clearly limited to a 
particular fignification by the flrain of the difcourfe, as to leave 
no room for doubt." Nor has Simon paid a due regard to this 
moft evadent truth, though he pretends, in anfwering that writer, 
to have been aware of it f. He could not otherwife have run 
into fuch exaggerations as thefe : " The fignification of the 
*' greater part of the Hebrew words is entirely uncertain ;" and 
*'-a tranflator cannot fay abfolutely that his interpretation ex- 
*' prcfTes truly what is contained in the original, there being aL 
**.way) ground to doubt, becaufe there are other meanings which 
*' are equally probable ;" abfurdities which it were eafy to con- 
fute fiom his own work, were this the proper place. 

§ 12. It may be alked in reply, Bat is not the poverty of the 
Hebrew^ tongue, of which the obfcurity and the ambiguity feem 
to be the natural confequences, acknowledged by all impartial 
critics ? In fome fenfe it is, and I have acknowledged it very 
amply ; but it deferves our notice, that much more has been in- 
ferred from this than there is foundation for. The language of 
a people little advanced in civilization,^ among ft u horn knowledge 
of any kind has made but inconfiderabie progrefs, and the arts 
of life are yet rude and imperfect, can hardly be fuppofed copi- 
ous. But it is not fufiiciently weighed, on the other hand, that 
if their words be few, their ideas are few in proportion. Words 
multiply with the occafions for employing them. And if, in 
modern languages, we have thoufands of names to which we can 


* Thus to the noun wori Johnfon aflTigns 12 fignifications — to poiver 13. 
and to foot 16. The verb, to.make, has, according to him, 66 meanings, 
to put,' ho, and to take, which is both neuter and adlive, has 134. This is 
but a fmall fpecimen in nouns and verbs j the obfcrvation may be as am- 
ply illuftrated in other parts of fpeech. 

t Reponfe aux Sentimens de quelqacs Theol. de HoU. ch. xvi. 


6rid none in Hebrew correfponding, we fliall difcover, upon in- 
quiry, that the Hebrews were ignorant of the things to whicli 
thofe names are affixed by us as the fi}-:^ns. 

Knowledge precedes, language toilows. No people have 
names for things unknown and unimagined, about which they 
can have no converfation. If they be well fupplied in figns for 
expreillng thofe things with which thej are, either in reality or 
in imagination, acquainted, their language, confidered relatively 
to the needs of the people who ule it, nnay be termed copicui ; 
though, compared with tlic languages of move intelligent and ci- 
vilized nations, it be accounted fcanty. This is a fcaiitinefs, 
which might occafion difficulty to a ftranger attempting to trans- 
late into it the writiflgs of a more poliihed and improved people, 
who have more ideas, as well as words, but would never be felt 
by the natives ; nor would it hurt in the leaft the clearnefs of 
their narratives, concerning thofe matters which fall within the 
fphere of their knowledge. There is no defeft of figns for all 
the things which they can fpeak or write about, and it can never 
afFeft the perfpicuity of what they do fay, that they have no 
figns for thofe things whereof they have nothing to fay, becaufe 
they know nothing about them. 

Nay, it may be reafonably inferred, that in wliat is called a 
fcanty language, where the figns are few, becaufe the things to 
be fignilied are few, there is a greater probability of precifion 
than in a copious language, where the requifite figns are much 
more Numerous, by reafon of the multiplicity of things to be re- 
prefented by them. The leaft deviation from order will be ob- 
ferved in a fmall company, which would be overlooked in a 
crowd. The fource of much falfe reafoning on this head, is the 
tendency people have to imagine that, with the fame extent of 
fubjecl which might have employed the pen of an ancient Greek, 
the Hebrews had perhaps not one fourth part of their number 
of words. Had this been the cafe, the words muft indeed have 
been ufed very indefinitely ; but as the cafe really flood, it is not 
fo eafy to decide, whether the terms (thofe efpecially for which 
there is mod occafion in narrative) be more vague in their figni- 
fication in Hebrevr, than in other languages. 

§ 13. But to defcend from abllrad reafoning to matters of 
faft, which in fubjefts of this kind are more convincing, *' It is 
** falfe," fays Le Clerc, " that there is always ground to doubt 
*' whether the fenfe v.'hich one gives to the Hebrew words be the 
" true fenfe ; for, in fpite of all the ambiguities of tlie Hebrew 
** tongue, all the interpreters of Scripture, ancient and modern, 
•' agree with regard to the greater part of tlie liiftory, and of the 
" Jewifh religion." Le Clerc is rather modeft in his aflfertions ; 
but in hd be was too tnuch of Simon's opinion on this article, 



as appears particularly from his Prolegomena to the Pentateuch*. 
Othervvife he might have jurtly afTerted that the points rendered 
doubtful bv the obfcurity or the ambiguity of the text, bear not 
to thofe which are evident, the proportion of one to an hundred 
in number, and not of one to a thoufand in importance. Let it 
be obferved, that 1 fpeak, only of the doubts arifing from the ob- 
fcurity of Scripture ; for, as to thofe which may be ftarted by 
curioiity concernina circumftances not mentioned, fuch doubts 
are, on every fubje£l, facred and profane, innumerable. But, in 
queflions of this fort, it is a maxim with every true and confif- 
tent Froteftant, that the faith of a Chriflian is not concerned. 

Simon's reply is afftftedly evafive. At the fame time that it 
in fatt includes a concefEon fubverfive of the principles he had 
advanced, it is far fhort of what every perfon of refie£tion muft 
fee to be the truth. He tells us that " he never doubted that 
*' one might underftand HL-brew well enough to know in groft 
*' and in general, the Biblical hiftorics ; but this general and con- 
^^ fujed knowledge does not fuffice for fixing the mind in what 
** regards the articles of our belief f." Now what this author 
meant by knovoing in grofs and in general^ which is a more vague 
exprefiion than any I remember in the Pentateuch, I will not at- 
tempt to explain ; but if is not in my power to conceive any 
kind of knowledge, grofs or pure, general or fpecial, deducible 
from a writing wherein *' there is always ground to doubt whe- 
*' ther the fenfe afligned be the true fenfe, becaufe there are other 
** meanings which are equally probable." There is in thefe po- 
fitions a manifeil contradiclion. When the probabilities in the 
oppofite fcales balance each other, there can refult no knowledge, 
no, nor even a reafonable opinion. The mind is in total fufpenfe 
between the contrary but equal evidences. 

§ 14. But, to be more particular, what hiflorical point of mo- 
ment recorded in Genefis, is interpreted differently by Jews of 
any denomination, Pharifees, Saddr.cees, Karaites, or even Sama- 
ritans ? Let it be obferved, that I fpeak only of their literal or 
grammatical interprerations of the acknowledged text, and nei- 
ther of their interpolations, nor of their myftical expofitions and 
allegories, which are as various as men's imaginations ; for with 
thefe it is evident that the perfpicuity of the tongue is no way 
concerned. Or is there one material difference, in what concerns 
the hiflory, among Chriftians cf advtrfe fe61s, Greeks, Roman- 
ics and Proteftants, or even between Jews and Chriftians ? This 


* DilT. I. 
f " Mr Simon ii'a jamais do'J'c qu'on n'eut ?.^f.z Sc conno'fTancc «3e I* 
" l^n^ue Hebraique pour iavoir tn grofs et tn general les hliioires dc la 
" Bible. M.iis cette connoiflance gtneral e^ ccufufe ne fuftit pas pour ar- 
" r€ter I'efprit dans ce qui rcgarde les points dc notre creance." Reponfc 
aux Sentirr.ens d« queiq. Theol. de Holl. cli- xvi. 


book has been tranflated into a great many languages, ancient 
and niodern, into thole of Afia, Africa and Europe. Is not eve- 
ry thing that can be denominated an event of conlequence fimU 
larly exhibited in them all ? In all we find oue God, and only 
one, the Maker of heaven and earth, and of every thing that 
they contain. From all we learn, that the world was made in 
fix days, that God relied the feventh. Ail agree in the wor.k. of 
each day, in giving man dominion over the brute creation, in the 
formation of the woman out of the body of the man, in the pro- 
hibition of the tree of knowledge, in man's tranfgrcflion and its 
confequences, in the murder of Abel bv his brother Cain, in the 
dela-^e, in the prefervation of Noah's family, and of the animal 
world, by the ark, in the confufion of tongues, in the hifrories 
given of the patriarchs. 

It were tedious, 1 had almoil faid endlefs, to enumerate every 
thing. Take the ilory of Jofeph for an example, the only one 
I (hali fpecifv. In what verfion of that moft interefting narra- 
tive, oriental or occidental, ancient or modern, Jewilh or Chri- 
ftian, Popifh or Proteflanr, is any thing which can be juftly call- 
ed material, reprefented differently from what it is in the reft ? 
Do we not clearly perceive in every one of them the partiality 
of the parent, the innocent fimplicitv of the child, the malignunt 
envy of the brothers, their barbarous purpofe fo cruelly executed, 
their artifice for deceiving their father, the young man's flavery 
in Egypt, his prudence, fidelity, piety, chaftity, the infamous at- 
tempt of his miftrefs, and the terrible revenge fhe took of his 
virtuous refufal, his imprifonment, his behaviour in prifon, the 
occafion of his releafe, Pharaoh's dreams, and Jofeph's interpre- 
tation, the exaltation of the latter in Egypt, the years of plenty 
and the years of famine, the interviews he had with his brothers, 
and the affedling manner in which he at lail difcovcred hirnfelf 
to them ? Is there any one moral leflbn that may be deduced 
from any part of this hiftory, (and none iurely can be more in- 
ftruAive), which is not fufficiently fupported by every tranflation 
with which we are acquainted ? Or is this coincidence of tranfla- 
tions, in every material ctrcumftance, confident with the repre- 
fentations which have been given of the total obfcurity and am- 
biguity of the original ? The reverfe certainly. 

§ 4. Nor is it neceffary, in this inquiry, to confine one's felf 
to the points merely hiftorical, though, for brevity's fake, I have 
done it. Permit me only to add in a fentence, that the religious 
inftitutions, the laws and the ceremonies of the Jews, as far as 
they are founded on the exprefs words of Scripture, and neither 
on tradition, nor on traditionary gloffes, are, in every thing ma- 
terial, underllood in the very fame way by both Jews and Chri- 
flians. The principal points on which the Jewilh fects differ fo 
vvidely frora one another, axe fupported, if not bj the oral tradi- 


96 P R E L I M r i; A R X 

tive law, at leaft by myftical fenfes, attributed bj one party, and 
not acquiefced in by others, to thofe paflages of Scripture, about 
the literal meaning whereof all parties are agreed. 

§ 16. Yet our critic will have it, that our knowledge of thefe 
things is confufed and general. He had granted more, as we 
have feen, than was compatible with his bold alTertions above 
quoted ; and therefore to difguife a little the inconliftency of 
thofe aliertions with the concelTion now made, he encumbers it 
with the epithets confufed and general. But let the fact fpeak 
for itfeif. Had there been any fource of confufion in the ori- 
ginal, was it pollible that there fhould have been facii harmooy 
in tranflations made into languages fo different, and by men 
who, in many things that concern religion, were of fentiments fo 
contrary ? But if this knov/Iedge be confufed and general.^ I Ibould 
like to be informed what this author, and thofe who think as he 
does, would denominate dijUrifl and particular. For my part, 
I have not a more diilincl and particular notion of any hiilory, I 
ever read in any language, than of that written by Mofes. And 
if there has not been fuch a profufion of criticifm on the obfcu- 
rities and auibiguities which occur in other authors, it is to be 
afcribed folely to this circumftance, that what claims to be mat- 
te^' of revelation, awakens a clofer attention, and excites a more 
fcrupulous examination, than any other performance which, how 
valuable foever, is infinitely lefs inteiefling to mankind. Nor is 
there a fingle principle by which our knowledge of the import 
of facred writ, efpecially in what relates to Jewifli and Chriftian 
antiquities, could be overturned, that would not equally involve 
all ancient literature in univerfal fccptlcifm. 

§ 17. Some perhaps will be ready to conclude from what has 
been advanced, that ail new tranflations of Scripture muft be 
fupernuous, fmce the language is fo clear, that no preceding tranf- 
lator has mifled the fenfe in points of confequence. It is indeed 
true that no tranflator, that I know, has miffed the fenfe in points 
of principal confequence, whether hiflorical events, articles of 
faith, or rules of practice ; infomuch that we may with Brown 
fafely dtSre the fceptic *^, " to chufe v.bich he fliould like beft 
" or worff among ail the controverted copies, various readings, 
*' manufcripts, and catalogues, adopted by whatever church, feft, 
*' or party ; or even any of the almoft infinite number of tranf- 
" lations made of thefe books in diftant countries and ages, re- 
" lying on it as amply fufficicnt for all the great purpofes of re- 
** li2;ion and Chriftianity." 

Yet it is not to be argued that, becaufe the worft copy or 
tranfl-Jtion contains all the effentials of religion, it is not of real 
confequence, by being acquainted with the beff, to guard againft 
errors which, though comparatively of fmallcr moment, and not 

* EfTays on the Charafleriftics, EfiT. iii. Stft. iii. 


fubverfive of the foundation, impair the integrity, and often in- 
jure the confiftencj?, as well as weaken the evidence of our reli- 
gious knowledge. Although the moll eflential truths are the 
molt obvious and accellible to the unlearned, as well as to the 
learned, we ought not to think lightly of any advances attainable 
in the divine fcience. There is a fatisfaftion which the wtll- 
difpofed mind receives from an increafe ot knowledge, that of 
itfelf does more than repay all the labour employed in the ac- 
quiiition Tf this hold even in ordinary fubjefVs, how much 
more in the mod fublime ? There is, befides, fuch a fvmmetry 
of parts in the divine inftitution we have by Jefus Chrid, that a 
more thorough acquaintance v^'ith each part ferves to illuilrate 
the other parts, and confirm our faith in the whole. And what- 
ever in any degree corroborates our taith, contributes in the fame 
degree to llrengthen our hope, to enhance our love, and to give 
additional weight to all the motives with which our religion fup- 
plies us, to a pious and virtuous life. 

Thefe are reafons which ought to weigh with every Chrlftianj 
and the more efpecially, as the moil minute examination will 
never be found an unprofitable lludy, even to the moil le rned. 
It is with the good things of the Spirit, as with what are called 
the good things of life ; the mofl necelTarv are the molt com- 
mon, and the mod eafily acquired. But as, in re^jard to the ani- 
mal life, it would be a reproach on thofe poff-ffed of natural 
abilities, through torpid indolence, to look no further than mere 
neceflaries, not exerting their powers for the attainment of thofe 
conveniencies whereby their lives might be rendered both more 
comfortable to themfelves, and more beneficial to others ; v is 
beyond compare more blame worthy to befray the fame lazy 
difpoficion, and the fame indifference, in what concerns the fpi- 
ritual life Barely to have faith, does not fatisfy the mind of 
the pious Chriilian, whofe ambition it is to be rich in faith. To 
have received of the celeftial grace is not enough, in point either 
of acquirement or of evidence, to him whcfe ardent and daily 
defire it is to grow in grace, and in the comforts of God's. Spirit. 
Now, to make progrefs in divine knowledge, is (if 1 may be 
allowed the fimilitude) to improv-e the foil in which faith, and 
hope, and charity, and ail the graces of the Spirit, muft be fown 
and cultivated. , 

§ 1 8. But to return to the flyle of the facred hiilorv, from 
which I fear this controverfy-, though exceedingly important, and 
intimately conne£led with the fubjed, has made me di^iefs too 
far; there is another fpecies of fimpUcity, beii ie the fimplicity 
of ftruclure, and the fimplicity of fentim<--nt above mentioned, 
for which, beyond all the compofitions I know in any language^ 
Scripture hillory is remarkable. This may be called fimplicity 
of defign. The fobjecl of the narrative fo en^roffes the attention 

Vol. I. N - of 


of the writer, that he is himfelf as nobody, and is quite forgotten 
by the reader, who is never led by the tenor of the narration fo 
much as to think of him. He introduces nothing as from him- 
felf. We have no opinions of his, no remarks, conjettures, 
doubts, inferences ; no reafonings about the caufes or the effefts 
of what is related. He never interrupts his reader with the dif- 
play of either his talents or his paffions. He makes no digref- 
fions ; he draws no charafters ; he gives us only the naked fatls, 
from which we are left to collcft the character. The utmoll he, 
does in charaCleriline, and that but feldom, is comprifed in a very 
few words. And v;hat is thus faid is not produced as his opi- 
nion, either of the pevfon or of the thing, but as the known ver- 
did of the time, cr perhaps, as the decifion of the Spirit. No 
attempt to fhine by means of the expreflion, compofition, or fen- 
timents. plainnefs of language is always preferred, becaufe the 
jnoft natural, the mod obvious, and the bell adapted to all capa- 
cities. Though in flyle by no means flovenly, yet in little 
points, as about thofe grammatical accuracies rvhich do not aiFe<iil: 
the fenfe and perfpicuity of the fentence, rather carelefs than cu- 

§ 19. Now in the laft of the three forts of iimpHcity enume- 
rated, our Lord's biographers particularly excel. This quality, 
or fometliing akin to it, has been much and juftly celebrated ia 
fome pagan writers, in Xenophon, for inllance, among the Greeks, 
and Cefar among the Latins. It were eafy however to fhow, 
were it a proper fubjeft of difcuffion here, that the difference be- 
tween thefe and the facred penmen, efpecially the evangelirts, is 
very confiderable. Tn refpe61- of the firll fpecies of fimplicity 
mentioned, limplicity of ftrufture, the difference of the genius of 
the Greek lanouage from that of the Hebrew, mull no doubt 
cccalion fome difference in the manner of Matthew, Mark, Luke, 
and John, from that of Mofes ; but the identity of idiom ex- 
plained in a former difcourfe, (Diff. L Part i.) occafions ftill a 
flrong refemblance between them. If Genefis, therefore, may 
be juTlly faid to polTefs the firfl rank for limplicity of compofition 
in the fentences, the gofpels are certainly entitled to the fecond. 
But even thefe are not, in this kind, entirely equal among them- 
felves. John and Matthew have it in a higher degree than 
Mark and Luke. 

As to the fecond fpecies, fimplicity of fentiment, arifing chiefly 
from the uncultivated ftate of fociety in the period and country 
about which the hiftory is converfant ; the change of times, 
which was doubtiefs very great, as well as the difference of fub- 
jeft, would necefl'arily confer the firft degree here alfo upon the 
former. But in what was denominated fimplicity of objetl or 
defign, the evangelifts, of all writers, facred and profane, appear 
the foremoft. Their manner is indeed ia fome lefpeds peculiar 



and unrivalled. It may not be amifs to confider a little the cir- 
cumflances which gave occafion to this diverficy and peculiarity. 

§ 20. For this purpofe I beg leave to lay before the reader 
the few following obfervatioiis. ifb, I obferve, that the ftate 
and circumltanccs a^ things were, before the times of the apoitles, 
totally changed in Paleftine from what they had been in the 
limes of the patriarchs. The political alterations gradually 
brought upon the country, bv a facceffion of revolutions in go- 
vernment, which made their condition fo very unlike the pall.or3l 
life of their wandering forefathers, are too obvious to need illuf- 
tration. idly, Their intetcourfe with Grangers of different na- 
tions, to fome of which they had been fucceffively in lubjcction, 
had, notvvithitanding their peculiarities in religion, introduced 
great changes in manners, fentiments, and cuftoms. In our Sa- 
viour's days wc find the nation divided into religious fe£ts and 
political parties ; the former of which had their refpective iv(~ 
tems, fchools, and patrons among the leavjied. Each fccl had 
its axioms or leading principles, and its particular mode of rea- 
toning from thofe principles. Now there is not a fingle trace of 
any thing fimiiar to this in all the Old TeRament hiftory. 3dly, 
As the great objeft of our Lord's miniftry, which is the great 
fubjedl of the Gofpels, wa3 to inculcate a doitrine and morality 
with which none of their lyftems perfecily coincided ; and as, 
by confequence, he was oppofed by all the principal men of the 
different faftions then in the nation, the greater part of his hilto- 
ry inuft be employed in relating the inftruftions which he deli- 
vered to the peoj>le and to his difciples, the difputes which he 
had with his antagonifts, and the methods by which he recom- 
mended and fupported his doclrir.e, expoied their fophiftry, and 
eluded their malice. 

This mud give a colour to the hiftory of the MefHah, very 
different from that of any of the ancient worthies recorded in the 
Old Teilament ; in which, though very inftructive, there is com- 
paratively little delivered in the didaftic ftyle, and hardly any 
thing in the argumentative. A great deal of both we have in 
the Gofpels. It ought not here to pafs unnoticed, that it is more 
in compliance with popular language, than in ftricl propriety, 
that I denominate his manner of enforcing moral iaitruftion, 
arguing. Our Lord, addreiling himfclf much more to the heart 
than to the head, and, by his admirable parables, without the 
form of argument, convincing his hearers, that the moral truthi 
he recommended are conformable to the genuine principles of 
our nature, in other words, to the dictates of confcience and the 
common fenfe of mankind, con^raands frnm the impartial and 
the coniiderate an unlimited afTent. Accordingly, when a fimili- 
tude or an example is made 10 fupply the place of argument, in 
fupport of a particular fentiment, he does not forrr:3lly deduce 



the conclufion, but either leaves it to the reflexions of his hearers, 
or draws it from their own mouths by a fimple queflion. This, 
withoui the parade of reaioning, is, in praftical fubjecls, the 
ftrongell of all reafoning. After candidly dating an appofice 
cafe, it is appealing for the decii'ion, not to tiie prejudices or the 
pafTions, but to the natiiral fenfe of good and evil, even of his 
adveifaries. 4thly, As our Lord's hiftory is occupied, partly 
with what he faid, and partly with what he did, thi-. occafions 
in the GoTpels a twofold dilfinciion of ftyle and manner : tirfl 
that of our Saviour, as it appears in what he faid ; fecondly, that 
of his hiftorians, as it appears in their relation of what he did. 
I (hall confider briefly how the different forts of iimplicitj above 
mentioned, may be applied to each of thefe. 

§ ii. As to the fimplicity of ftrudure, it may be faid in a 
very eminent degree to belong to both. It is in itfelf regarded 
more as a quality of narration, but is by no means excluded 
from the other kinds of compofition. Befides, in our Lord's dif- 
courfes, particularly his parables, there is a great deal of narra- 
tive. Simplicivy of fentiment appears more in the dialogue part, 
and in the teaching, than in the narration, which is almoft con- 
fined to what is neceflary for information and connexion. Tt 
may be obietfed, that our Lord's figurative manner of teaching 
is not perfedlly compatible with fimplicity. But let it be ob- 
ferved, that there is a fimplicity of manner in the enunciation of 
the lentiments directly fignined, which a piece of writing that 
admits a figurative or allegorical meaning, is as fufceptible of, as 
one that admits only a literal interpretation. Greece has not 
produced a more genuine fpecimen of this than we have in the 
Apologues of Efop, which are all never thelefs to be underliood 
"figuratively. In Cebes's Table, which is an alltgory, there is 
great fimplicity of diclion. It is only with the expreflion of the 
literal or immediate fentiment, that this quality is concerned. 
And nothing furely can in this particular exceed the parables of 
our Lord. As thefe are commonly in the ftyle of narration, they 
are fufceptible of the fame fimplicity of ftrufture, as well as of 
fentiment, with the hiftorian's narrative, and are, in this refpeft, 
hardly diltinguiiliable from it. 

But the third fort mentioned belongs peculiarly to the hifto- 
rian. In our Lord's difcourfes, though the general and ultimate 
obje£t is the fame throughout, namely the honour of God by the 
recovery of men, the particular and immediate objeft varies with 
thefubjeft and occafion. At one time it is to inftruft his hearers 
in one important dotfrine or duty, at another time, in another ; 
fometimes to refute one error, at other times another ; now to 
rebuke what is wrong, then again to encourage in the practice of 
what is right. We have all the variety of threats and promifes, 
prohibitions and precepts, rebukes and confolaiions, eiplanation 





and refutation, praife and blame. Thefe undoubtedly require a 
confiderable variety in the flyle and manner. Now there is oc- 
cafion for nothing of this kind in the narrative. The hiftorians 
with whom we are here concerned, do, in their own charafter, 
neither explain nor command, promife nor threaten, commend 
nor blame, but preferve one even tenor in exhibiting the fa(fls 
entirely unembellilhed, reporting, in linglenefs of heart, both 
what was faid, and what was done, by their Mafter, likewife 
what was faid, and what was done, to him, by either friends or 
enemies. Not a fylhble of encomium on the former, or of in- 
ventive againlt the latter. As to their Lord himfelf, they appear 
to regard his chara6ler as infinitely fuperior to any praife which 
they could bellow : and as to his perfecutors, they mingle no 
gall in what they write concerning them ; they do not defire t<- 
aggravate their guilt, in the judgment of any man, either bv^ 
giving exprefsly, or by fo much as infinuating, through the feve- 
rity of their language, their opinion concerning it. 

§ 2 2. Nay, which is more remarkable, the names of thehigh- 
prieft and his coadjutor, of the Roman procurator, of the tetrarch 
of Galilee, and ot the treacherous difciple, are all that are men- 
tioned of the many who had a hand in his profecution and death. 
In regard to the four firft, it is manifeft that the fuppreffion of 
the names, had the fafts been related, would have made no dif- 
ference to Contemporaries ; for in offices of fo great eminence 
poffeffed b}' fingle perfons, as all thofe offices were, the official is 
equivalent to the proper name, which it never fails to fuggeft ; 
but fuch a fuppreffion v^ould have naade to pofterity a material 
detetl in the hiftory, and greatly impaired its evidence. In re- 
gard to the fifth it is fufficient to obferve, that without naming 
the traitor, jiiftice could not have been done to the eleven." 
Whereas of thofe Scribes and Pharifees who bargained with 
Judas, of the men who apprehended Jefus, of the officer who 
llruck him on the face at his trial, of the falfe witnefles who de- 
. pofed againft him, of thofe who afterwards fpat upon him, buf- 
feted and mocked him, of thofe who were loudeft in cryino-, 
Avjay with him ; crucify him ; not this man but Barrabbas ; of 
thofe who fupplied the m.ultitude with the implements of their 
mockery, the crown of thorns, the reed, and the fcarlet robe ; of 
thofe who upbraided him on the crofs with his inability to fave 
himfelf ; or of the foldier v/ho pierced his fide with a fpear j no 
name is given by any of the hiltorians. 

It may be faid, ' The names have not been known to them,' 
This may have been true of fome of their names, but cannot be 
fuppofed to have been true of them all, and that, with regard not 
to one, two, or three, but to all the four evangelifts. The wit- 
neffes muft have been perfons of the country, and at leaft occa- 
lional hearers of our Lord. It was no doubt chiefly the people 



of Jerufalem who tumultuoufly demanded his execution, vfho 
derided him with the title of i^Ieluah, and who infulted him even 
on the crcfs. Curiohtj on (lich occafions leads men to enquire 
about perfons who act a principal part in a icene fo tragical ; and. 
that the diiciples were not beyond the influence of this motive, is 
evident from the whole of the ftory. The names of the Roman 
foidlers conceriied in this ti'aufadion might have been unknown 
to them, and probably little minded by rhcm j but the actions of 
their countrymen mud have excited another kind of emotion, as 
it more neari/ affected all his followers. 

Now this referve in regard to the of thofe who wer€ 
the chief inltruments of his iufferings, is the more ob:ervable, as 
the names of others to whom no fpecial part is attributed, are 
xneuiioned without hefitation. Thus Malchus, whofe ear Peter 
cut off, and who was immediately after miraculoufly cured by 
Jcfus, is named by John ; but nothing further is told of him than 
that he was prelent when our Lord was feized, and that he was 
a fervant of the high-priefl. Simon, the Cyrenian, who carried 
the crofs, is named by no fewer than three of the evangelifts ; 
but we are alfo informed that in this fervice he did not aft vo- 
luntarily, but by compulfion. Jofeph, of Arimathea, and Nico- 
demus, are the only members of the Sanhedrim, except the high 
pried, who are mentioned by name ; but they were the only per- 
fons of that body who did not concur in condemning the Son of 
God, and who, though once fearful and fecret difciples, alTumed 
the refoiution to difplay their afiedion at a time when no one 
elfe ventured openly to acknov^ledge him. Our Lord's biogra- 
phers, whiirr they are thus far ready to do juftice to merit, avoid 
naming any man, without necefficy, of whom they have nothing 
to i3.y that is not to his dilhonour. To the virtuous and good 
they conciliate our eileem and love, an effectual method of rai- 
fing our admiration of virtue and goodnefs, and exciting in us a 
noble emulation ; but our contempt and hatred they dired: againft 
the crimes, not againft the periods of men ; againft vices, not 
againil the vicious : aware that this laft direftion is often of the 
moft dangerous tendencv to Chriftian charity, and confequently 
to genuine virtue. They 'tewed no difpofition to hold up any 
man to the Chriftians of their own time, as an objedl of either 
their fear or their abhorrence, cr to tranfmit his name with infa- 
my to pofterity. 

Thrugh this holds principallv in what concerns the laft great 
cataftrophe, it appears in fome degree in every part of the hifto- 
ry. Except in the cafe of Herodias, which, from the rank of 
the perfonages concerned, mull have been a matter of notoriety 
and public fcandal, and therefore required a more public repre- 
henfion, the names are never mentioned, when what is related 
refleds difgrace on the perfons. Of the Scribes and Pharifees 



-who watehed our Lord, and, on different cccafions, diffembling 
efteem, affaiied him with captious and enfnarlng queftions, ol 
thole who openly afcribed his miracles to Beelzebub, called him 
a madman, a demoniac, and what they accounted worfe than ei- 
ther, a Samaritan, who accufed him of affociiting with the pro- 
fligate, of Sabbath breaking, of intemperance aixi blafphemy, of 
thofe Sadducees who by their fophiftry vainly attempted to re- 
fute the doclrine of the refurreftion, of thote enraged Nazarenes, 
his fellow-citizens who would have carried him by force to a 
precipice, that they might throw him down headlong, no names 
are ever mentioned ; nor is the young but opulent magillrate 
named, who came to confult him as to what heinuft do to obtain 
eternal life ; for though there were lome favourable fymptoms in 
his cafe, yet as, by going away forrowful, he betrayed a heart 
wedded to the world, the application did not terminate to his ho- 
nour But of Sim.on the Pharifee, who invited our Lord 10 his 
houfe, and who, though doubtful, feemcd inclinable to leani, of 
Jairus, and, and Zciccheus, and Lazarus, and his lif- 
ters Mary and Martha, and fome others, of whcfe faith, repen- 
tance, gratitude, love and piety, the moft honourable teifimony 
is given, a very different account is made. 

Some may objecl-, that this conduct in the iirft difciples is irr.- 
putable to a weak and timid policy. They were afraid to raiie 
againit themfelves powerful enemies, whofe vengeance might 
prove fatal to their perfons, and ruinous to their caufe. It hap- 
pens luckily for iilencing this pretext, that, in other things, they 
gave the moft unequivocal proofs of their fortitude ; beudes,that 
the exceptions above mentioned include almoft all the perfons 
poSeiTed of fuch authority, civil or facred, united with fuch a dii- 
poficion as could render their refentment an objett of terror to 
thofe who were obnoxious to it. That the diiterence thus mark- 
ed between the evil and the good is, on the contrary, in the true 
fpirit of their Mafler, might be inferred, as from feveral oth^r 
paffages, fo in particular, from that fimilitude wherein the re- 
wards and punilhments of another ilate are fo well exemplified. 
A name is gi"en to the poor man who was conveyed by angels 
to Abraham's bofom ; the other, who was conligned to torments, 
is diilinguiChed folelv by the epithet rich. A particularity from 
which v.'e may learn an iaftruftive lelTon of modefly and caution 
in regard to names, when what truth compels us to fay is to the 
difadvantage of the perfons, and that it fulTiceth that v.-e confider 
particular puailliments as fuited to particular actions, without re- 
ferring them to knov^'n individuals, or leading the thoughts of 
others to refer them. 

But as to the penmen themfelves, and their fellow-difciple3,in 
recording their own faults, no fecret is made of the names. Of 
this the intemperate zsal of the fons of Zebedee on one occafion, 



and their ambition and fecular views on another, the incredulity 
of Thomas, the prefumption of Peter, and his lamentable defec- 
tion in the denial of his Mafter, not to mention the prejudices 
and dulnefs of them all, are eminent examples. Thefe particu- 
lars are all related by the facred hiftorians with the fame undif- 
guifed plainnefs which thej ufe in relating the crimes of adver- 
faries ; and with as little endeavour to extenuate the former, as 
to aggravate the latter. Nor have they, on the other hand, the 
remoteft appearance of making a merit of their confeffion. In 
one uniform drain, they record the mod lignal miracles and the 
mod ordinary events. In regard to the one, like perfons fami- 
liarized to fuch exertions of power, they no more exprefs them- 
ielves either with hefitancy or with drong alTeverations, than thej 
do in regard to the other. Equally certain of the fa£ls advanced, 
they recite both in the fame unvaried tone, as faithful witaeffes, 
whofe bufinefs it was to tedify, and not to argue. 

§ 23. Hence it happens, that that quality of dyle which is 
called animation, is in a manner excluded from the narrative. 
The hidorians fpeak of nothing, not even the mod atrocious ac- 
tions of our Lord's perfecutors, with fymptoms of emotion ; no 
angry epithet, or pathetic exclamation, ever efcapes them ; not a 
word that betrays paffion in the writer, or is calculated to excite 
the paflions of the reader. In difplaying the mod gracious, as 
well as marvellous, difpenfation of Providence towards man, all 
is direfted to mend his heart, nothing to move his pity, or kin- 
dle his refentment. If thefe effeds be alfo produced, they are 
manifedly the confequences of the naked expofition of the fafts, 
and not of any adventitious art in the writers, nay not of any 
one term, not otherwife neceflary, employed for the purpofe. 

I am fenfible that to thofe who are both able and willing to 
give thefe v/ritings a critical examination, hardly in any tranfla- 
tion does this peculiaritv appear fo much as it does in the origi- 
nal. Mod readers confider animation as an >.xcellency in wri- 
ting ; and in ordinary performances it no doubt is fo. By inte- 
reding them drongly in the events related, it roufes and quickens 
their attention. Unanimated iimplicity, on the contrary, they 
call flatnefs, if not iniipidity of manner. In confequence of this 
general fentiment, when two words occur to a tranflator either of 
which expreffes the fac^, but one of them does it fimply, without 
any note of either praife or blame, the other with feme warmth 
expreflive of cenfure or approbation 5 he very naturally prefers 
the latter as the more emphatical and affecting. Nor will he be 
apt to fufpefl that he is not fufficiently clofe to the original, if 
the adion or thing alluded to be truly fignified, though not en- 
tirely in the fame manner. Such differences, even good tranfla- 
tors, though not infenfible of them, are apt to overlook, excufing 
themfelves with the confideration, that words in all refpeds cor- 



refpondlng in two tongues which differ widely from each other, 
are not ahvavs to be found. 

But to explain myfelf bv examples, without which a writer is 
often but indiltin£l!y underilood, in readerini^ o 7rat§«Ji*j ec-j^e?. 
Matt. X. 4. into Latin ; of the two verba, tradire to deliver up, 
and proders to betray, niott trandators would prefer the latter as 
the more aiiim?.ted. Yet in reality, the is more con- 
formable to the fimplicity of the facred author, w-ho fatibfies 
himfelf with acquaiating us with the external fad, without cha- 
rafterifing it, or infinu:iting his own opinion \ otherwife the term 
would have been jir^^J^y not jr^^aSa^. Again, the denionllrative 
ir»f. Matt. xii. 24. may be rendered into Engliih either this tnati, 
or this fe!lo'j.\ But in the hil expreiiion, a degree of contempt 
is fuggelled, which is not in the tinl, nor in the original, bee 
the notes on both paiVages. 

§ 24. Let it be obferved, that in excluding animation, I in a 
great meafure conSae myfelf to the narrative, or what proceeds 
immediately from the hidorians# Tn the difcourfes and dialogues 
wherein their Mafter bears the only, or the principal part ; the 
expreiHon, without lofing aught of its proper fimplicity, is ottea 
remarkable for fpirit and energy. There is in thefe an anima- 
tion, but fo chaflifed by candour and ftrift propriety, as to be 
eafily dillinguiihed from what is often fo termed ia other compo- 

Yet here too the language has fometimes fuffcred in the very 
beft tranflations, and that not fo much through the fault of tran- 
flators, as in confequence of the difFi-rence of genius found m dif- 
ferent tongues, bome of the epithets qmpUyed by our Lord 
againll his antagonifls, have not that afperity which all modern 
verfions appear to give them. The Greek word v^tskw'Jjjj, for ex- 
ample, as metaphorically ufed in Scripture, has more latitude 01 
lignification than the word hypocrite formed from it, as ufed in 
modern tongues. The former is alike applicable to all who d.'S- 
femble on any fubjed or occafion ; the latter is in ftridnefs ap- 
plied only to thofe who, in what concerns religion, lead a life of 
diflimulation. It mail be owned that it is to perfons of this cha- 
rafter that it is ofteneft applied in the Gofpel j bat the judicious 
philologift hardly needs to be informed, that the more the ligni- 
fication of a word is extended, the more vague and general it be- 
comes, and confequently, if a reproachful epithet, the fofter. 
The word yi-J7r,i, in like manner, has not that harlhnets in Greek 
that liar has in Englifh. The reafon is the fame as in the for- 
mer inftance ; for though often properly rendered /iar, it is not 
limited to what we mean bv that term. Evej-y man who tells 
or teaches what is falfe, wljether he know the falfehood of what 
he fays or not, is what the facred authors juilly denominate 
4'iv«-«f;, a falfe f^eaktr ; but he is not wba: we call a liar^ unlefs 

Vol. i. O he 


he knows it to be falfe, and deceives intentionally. For this rea= 
foa I have, in feme inllances. Matt. xiii. l8, John viii. 55. con- 
iidered it as no more than doing juftice to the fpirit of the origi- 
nal, to foften the esprellicn in the common veifion, though other- 
xvife unexceptionable. 

On the other hand, the evangelifls, in their own charai^lers, 
are rarely other than mere narrators, without paflions or opinions. 
In this, as I have laid, they differ from Mofes and the other hi- 
ilorians of the Old Teftament, who, though juftly celebrated for 
native fimplicitj of manner, have not hefitated briefly to charac- 
terize the mofl remarkable perfons and adlions whereof they 
have occafion to fpeak. Without pretending to account entirely 
for this difference of manner in writers who fpoke by the fame 
Spirit, I fhall only fubmit to the judicious reader the following 
confiderations, which appear to indicate a fmgular propriety in 
the modell referve of our Lord's biographers. 

Mofes, and the other writers ,of the Old Teftament Scriptures, 
were all prophets, a chara6ler with which, confidered in a religi- 
ous light, no merely human character can be compared. None 
therefore could be better authorized than they, to pronounce di- 
rectly on the quality both of the agents and of the ailions men- 
tioned in their hiftories. In this view of the matter, they had 
no fuperior, even in the moil eminent perfonages whofe lives 
they recorded. An unreferved plainnefs of cenfure or approJDa- 
tion was in them therefore becoming, as it entirely fuittd the au- 
thority with which they were vefted. But was not the Stuatiou 
of the evangelifts, it may be aiked, the fame in this refpedl, as 
they alfo wrote by infpiration ? It is true they were infpired, 
and at leaft equdly entitled to the prophetical charader with any 
vho preceded them ; but they were not entirely in the fame fitu- 
ation. In the Old Teftament, the facred penmen were the mouth 
of God to the people. In the gofpels, the writers appear folely 
as Chrift's humble attendants, felefted for introdncing to the 
knowledge of others this infinitely higher charader, who is him- 
i&lf in a fuper-eminent fenfe the mouth, the oracle of God. It 
is this fubordinate part of ufhers which they profeffcdly ad. 
Like people ftruck with the ineffable dignity of the MelTiaU 
whom they ferve, they lole no opportunity of exhibiting him to 
the world, appearing to coniider the intrcdudion of their own 
opinion, unlefs where it makes a part of the narration, as an im- 
pertinence. As modeft pupils in the preftnce of fo venerable a 
teacher, they lay their hand upon their mouth, and, by a refped- 
ful filence, fhew how profound their reverence is, and how Ilrong 
their defire to fix all the attention of mankind upon him. They 
fmk themlelves, in order to place him in the mod confpicuous 
point of view : they do more ; they, as it were, annihilate them- 
lelves, that Jefus may be all ia all. Never could it be faid of 



any preachers with more truth than of them, that they preach- 
ed not themfelves, but Chrill Jefas the Lord. Deeply imprefled 
with their Mailer's inftru^ions, and far from afieiting to be call- 
ed Rabbi, or to be honoured of men as fathers and teachers in 
things divine, they never allowed themfelves to forget that they 
had only one Father who is in heaven, and only one teacher, the 
Meffiah. The unimpaffioned, yet not unfeeling manner, where- 
in they relate his cruel fufFerings, without letting one harlh or 
levere epithet efcape them, reflefting on the condudl of his ene- 
mies, is as unexampled as it is inimitable, and forms an eflential 
diftindlion between them and all who have either gone before or 
followed them, literate or illiterate, artful or artlefs, fceptical or 
fanatical. For if, in the latter claffes, the illiterate, the artlefs, 
and the fanatical, fury and hatred flame forth, wherever oppofi- 
tion or contradiction prefents them with an occafion ; the former, 
the literate, the artful, and the fceptical, are not lefs diftinguifh- 
able for the fupercilious and contemptuous manner in which they 
treat the opinions of religionifts of all denominations. The man- 
ner of the eyangelifts was equally removed from both. Add to 
this, that without making the leaft pretences to learning, they 
no where afFed to depreciate it ; but, on the contrary, fhew a 
readinefs to pay all due regard to every ufeful talent or acquifi- 

§ 25. From all that has been faid I cannot help concluding 
that, if thefe men were impoftors, agreeably to the infidel hypo- 
thefis, they were the mod extraordinary the world ever produced. 
That they were not philofophers and men of fcience, we have 
irrefragable, I had almoft faid, intuitive evidence ; and of what 
has hitherto been found invariably to mark the chara£ter of fa- 
natics and enthufiafts of all religions, we do not difcover in them 
a (ingle trace. Their narratives demonflrate them to have been 
men of found minds and cool retleclion> Tofuppofe them decei- 
ved in matters which were the objeds of their fenfes ; or, if not 
deceived, to fuppofe fuch men to have planned the deception of 
the world, and to have taken the method which they took tf> 
execute their plan, are alike attended with difficulties infur- 
mountable. The Chriflian's hypothefis, that they fpoke the 
truth, and were under the influence of the Divine Spirit, removes 
at once all difficulties, and in my judgment (for I have long and 
often revolved the lubjecl), is the only hypothefis which ever 
will, or ever can, remove them. But this only by the way. 

§ 26. Concerning the other qualities of ftyle to be found in 
thefe writings, I acknowledge I have not much to add. Sim- 
plicity, gravity, and perfpicuity, as necelTarily refulting from, 
fimplicity, are certainly their predominant charafters. But as in 
writings it is not always eafy to diftinguiih the qualities arifing 
from the thought, from thofe arifing merely from the expreffion, 



I {hall confider, in a few fentences, how far the other propertie? 
of good writinc^, commonly attributed to the flj'le, are applicable 
to the evangelifts. In what concerns harmony, and qualities 
which may be called merely fuperficial, as adding only an exter- 
nal polifh to their language ; about fuch, if we may judge from 
their writings, they do not appear, as was hinted before, to have 
had any the fmallefl folicitude. To convey the fenfe (the only 
thina of importance enough to be an objeft to them) in the mod 
familiar, and coifequently in the moft intelligible terms to their 
readers, feems to have been their highelt aim in point of ftyle. 
What concerned the found alone, and not the fenfe, was unwor- 
thy of their attention. 

In regard to elegance, there is an elegance which refults from 
the ufe of fuch words as are moft in favour with thofe who are 
accounted fine writers, and from fuch an arrangement in the 
words and claufes, as has generally obtained their approbation. 
This is ftill of the nature of vnrn^J}}^ and is difclalmed, not flu- 
died, by the facred authors. But there is alfo an elegance of a 
fuperior order, more nearly conne^ed with the fentiment ; and 
in this fort of eleaance they ar« not deficient. In all the oriental 
languages great ufe is msde of tropes, efpecially metaphor. The 
Scriptures abound with them. When the metaphors employed 
bear a ftrong rpfemblance, and the other tropes are happily 
adapted to the fjbjeds rhey are intended to reprefent, they con- 
fer vivacity on the wriiing. If they be borrowed from objefts 
which arc naturally agreeable, beautiful, or attraftive, they add 
alfo elegance. Now of this kind, both of vivacity and of elegance^ 
the evangelifts furnith us with a variety of examples. Our Lord 
illuftrates every thing (agreeably to the ufe of the age and coun- 
try) by figures and limilies. His tropes are always appofite, and 
often borrowed from obje£ls naturally engaging. The former 
quality renders them lively, the latter elegant. The ideas intro- 
duced are frequently ihofe of corn-fields, vineyards, and gardens. 
The parables are fometimes indeed taken from tlie cuftoms of 
princes and grandees, but oftener from the life of (hepherds and 
hulbandmen. If thofe of the firft kind confer dignity on tlie ex- 
amples, thofe of the fecond add an attraction, from the pleafant- 
ncfs of images which recal to the fancy, the thoughts of rural 
happinefs and tranquillity. And even in Cnfes where propriety 
required that things difagreeable ihould be introduced, as in the 
llory of the rich man and Lazarus, the whole is conducted with 
that ferioufiiefs and c'lafte fimplicity of manner, which totally 
exclude difgull. We may juftly fay, therefore, that the effential 
attributes of good writing are not wanting in thefc hiftories, 
though whatever can ne confidered as calculated for glitter and 
oflentation, is rather avoided than fought. 

§ 27. Upon the whole, therefore, the qualities of the ftyle 



could not, to thofe who were not Jews, nor accuilonied to their 
idiom, ferve at firfl to recommend thefe writings. The phrafe- 
ology could hardly fail to appear to fuch, av.'kvvard, idiomatical, 
and even vulgar. In this manner it generally did appear to 
Gentile Greeks, upon the firft perufal. But if they were, by 
any means, induced to give them a fccond reading, though itill 
not infenfible of the peculiarity, their prejudices and diflike of 
the idiom rarely failed to fubfide. A third commonly produced 
an attachment. The more they became acquainted with thefe 
books, the more they difcovered of a charm in them, to which 
they found notliing comparable or fimilar in all that they had 
learnt before, infomuch that they were not afliarned, nay, they 
were proud, to be taught by writers for whofe perfons and per- 
formances they had formerly entertained a fov'ereign contempt. 
The perfecutors of the church, both Jews and Pagans, perceivedi 
at laft, the confequences of conniving at the fludy of the Scrip* 
tares, and were therefore determined to make it their principal 
objedl to efFcdl the fupprefiioa of them, particulai'ly of the Gof- 
pels. But the more this was attempted, the more were the 
copies multiplied, the more was the curiofity of mankind excited, 
and the more was the ineflimable treafure of divine kuowledgie 
they contained, circulated. Early, and with avidity, were tranf- 
lations demanded, in almoft every known tongue. Thofe Chri- 
ftians who had as much learning as to be capable, were ambi- 
tious of contributing their fiiare in difFufing amongft ail nations* 
the delight, as well as the inftruction, which the fludy of thefe 
books conveyed into the foul. Nor was this admiration of the 
divine writings to be found only among the vulgar and the igno- 
rant. It is true, it originated among them ; but it did net ter- 
minate with them. Contrary to the common ccurfe of fafnion, 
which defcends from the higher ranks to the lower, it ar'ofe 
among the lowed clafles, nnd afcended to the highef!:. Not only 
nobles and fenators, but even philofophers and men of letters, 
the pupils of fophilts and rhetoricians, v/ho hj the prejudices of 
their education would be moft (hocked vnth, the inelegancies, the 
vulgarifms, and even the barbarifios (as they would account 
them) of the facred writers, found a fecret and irrefiilible attrac- 
tion, which overcame all their prepofTeffiois, and compelled 
them to acknowledge, that no writers could fo efFc£l^uallj convey 
conviclion to the underftanding, and reformation to the heart, as 
tliefe poor, homely, artlefs, and unlettered Galileans. 





At was remarked in a foregoing Diflertatioh, (DiiT. I. Part ii, 
§ I,) that, notwithftanding the famenefs both of the language 
and of the idiom employed by the penmen of the New Tefta- 
ment, there is a fenfible di\ erfity in their flyles. The iirft gene- 
ral rule, therefore, which demands the attention of him who 
■would employ himfelf in fearching the Scriptures, is to endea- 
vour to get acquainted with each writer's llyle, and, as he pro- 
ceeds in the examination, to obferve his manner of compofition, 
both in fentences and in paragraphs, to remark the words and 
phrafes peculiar to him, and the peculiar application which he 
may fometimes make of ordinary words ; for there are few of 
thofe writers who have not their peculiarities in all the refpefts 
now mentioned. This acquaintance with each can be attained 
only by the frequent and attentive reading of his works in his 
own language. 

§ 2. The fecond general dire6iion is to enquire carefully, as 
far as is compatible with the diftance of time and the other dif- 
advantages we labour under, into the character, the fituation, and 
the office of the writer, the time, the place, and the occafion of 
his writing, and the people for whofc immediate ufe he originally 
intended his work. Every one of thefe particulars will fome- 
times ferve to elucidate expreiiions otherwife obfcure or doubt- 
ful. This knowledge may in part be learnt from a diligent and 
reiterated perufal of the book itfelf, and in part be gathered from 
what authentic, or at lead probable, accounts have been tranf- 
mitted to us concerning the compilement of the canon. 

§ 3. The third and only other general direflion I ftiall men- 
tion, is, to confider the principal fcope of the book, and the par- 
ticulars chiefly obfervable in the method b}' which the writer 
has purpafed to execute his defign. This dire£lion, I acknow- 
ledge, can hardly be confidered as applicable to the hiftorical 
books, whofe purpofe is obvious, and whofe method is deter- 


mined by the order of time, or at leaft by the order in which the 
feveral occurrences recorded have prefented themfelves to the 
memory of the compiler. But in the epiftolary writings, efpe- 
cially thofe of the apoftle Paul, this conlideration would deferve 
particular attention. 

§ 4. Now to come to rules of a more fpecial nature. If, in 
reading a particular book, a word or phrafe occur which appears 
obfcure, perhaps unintelligible, how ought we to proceed ? The 
firil thing undoubtedly we have to do, if fatisfied that the read- 
ing is genuine, is to confult the context, to attend to the manner 
wherein the term is introduced, whether in a chain of reafoning, 
or as belonging to a hiftorical narration, as conftituting fome cir- 
cumftance in a defcription, or included in an exhortation or com- 
mand. As the conclufion is inferred from the premifes ; or as 
from two or more known truths, a third unknown or unobferved 
before may fairly be deduced ; fo from fuch attention to the fen- 
tences in connection, the import of an expreffion, in itfelf obfcure 
or ambiguous, will fometimes with moral certainty be difcover- 
ed. This, however, will not always anfwer. 

§ 5. If it do not, let the fecond conlideration be, whether the 
term or phrafe be any of the writer's peculiarities. If fo, it 
comes naturally to be enquired, what is the acceptation in which 
he employs it in other places ? If the fenfe cannot be precifely 
the fame in the paiTage under review, perhaps, by an eafy and 
natural metaphor or other trope, the common acceptation ma.j 
give rife to one which perfetSly fuits the paffage in queftion. 
Recourfe to the other places wherein the word or phrafe occurs 
in the fame author, is of confiderable ufe, though the term Ihould 
not be peculiar to him. 

§ 6. Bat thirdly, if there fhould be nothing in the fa*me writer 
that can enlighten the place, let recourfe be had to the parallel 
paflages, if there be any fuch, in the other facred writers. By- 
parallel paflages I mean thofe places, if the difficulty occur in 
hiftory, wherein the fame or a fimilar ftory, miracle, or event, is 
related ; if in teaching or reafoning, thofe parts wherein the fame 
dodrine or argument is treated, or the fame parable propounded; 
and if in moral leflbns, thofe wherein the fam.e clafs of duties is 
recommended. Or, if the diiEculty be found in a quotation from 
the Old Teftament, let the parallel paffage in the book referred 
to, both in the original Hebrew and in the Greek verGon, be 

§ 7. But if in thefe there be found nothing that can throw light 
on the expreffion, of which we are in doubt, the fourth recourfe 
is to all the places wherein the word or phrafe occurs in the New 
Teftament, and in the Septuagint verfion of the Old, adding to 
thefe the confideration of the import of the Hebrew or Chaldaic 
S\oid whofe place it occupies, and the extent of fignification, of 



which Iq diSferent occurrences fuch Hebrew or Chaldaic term is 

§ 8. Perhaps the term in queftion is one of thofe which very 
rarely occur in the New Teitamenr, or thofe called xvu^ >.evo^s»«, 
only once read in bcripture, and not found at all in the tranflation 
of the Scveuty. Several fuch words there are. There is then 
a ncceffity, in the filth place, for recurring to the ordinary accep- 
tation of the term in claffical authors. This is one of thofe cafes 
wherein the interpretation given by the earliell Greek fathers 
deferves particular notice. In this vcrditt, however, I limit my- 
felf to thofe comments wherein they give a literal expofition of 
the facred text, and do not run, as is but too cuftomary with 
them, into viiion and allegory. There are fo many advantages 
which people have for difcovering the import of a term or phrafe 
in the.r mother-tongue, unufual jj^rhaps in writing, but current 
in converfation, above thofe who fludy a dead language, folely 
by means of the books extant in it, that no reafonable pcrfoa 
can qaeftion that fouie deference is in fucli cafes due to their au- 

Ye will obfervf, that in regard to the words or phrafes, 
ivhereof an illuftration may be had from other parts of facred 
v/rit, whether of the Old or of the New Tellament, I fliould not 
think it necelTary to recur direftly to thofe primitive, any more 
than to our m.odern expounders. My reafon is, as the word or 
phrafe may not improbably be afFefted by the idiom of the fyna- 
gogue, the Jew. ih literature will be of more importance than the 
Grecian, for throp/ing light upon the palTage. Now this is a 
kind of learning with which the Greek fathers were very little 
acquainted. Whereas, on the other hand, if the term in queftion 
rarely, or but once, occur in the New Teflament, and never in 
the verfion of the Oid, th'r-re is little ground to imagine that it is 
aiFecled by the idiom of the fynagogue, but the greateft reafon. 
^0 fuppofe that it is adopted by tlie facred penmen in the commoa 

I think it necefTary to add here another limitation to the refe- 
rence i:itended to the ancient Greek expofitors. If the doubtful 
pafi'age have been produced in fup port of a fide, in any of the 
famous controverfies by which the Chriftian church has been di- 
vided, no regard is due to the authority, vvhatever may be due 
to the arguments, of any writer, who lived at, or foon after, the 
time when the controverfy was agitated. If yon know the fide 
he took in the difpute, you are fure bt forehand of the explana- 
tion he will give of the words in queftion. Nothing blinds the 
underftanding more effeftualiy than the fpirit of party, and no 
kind of party- fpirit more than bigotry under the afTumed cha- 
xa£ler of religious zeal. 

§ 9. In regard to the ufe to be made of the Fathers ^or afli fl- 


ing us to underftand the Scriptures, there are two extremes, to 
one or other of which the much greater part of Chriftians ihow 
a propenfity. One is an implicit deference to their judgment in 
every point on which they have given an opinion, the other is no 
legard at all to any thing advanced by them. To the firfl ex- 
treme the more moderate Romanifls, and thofe Proteftants who 
favour pompous ceremonies and an ariftocratical hierarchy, are 
moil inclined ; and to the fecond, thofe Protellants, on the con- 
trary, who prefer fimplicity of worfliip and the democratical form. 
in church government. But thele obfervations admit many ex- 
ceptions. As to the Papifts, in the worlt fenfe of the word, 
thofe who are for fupporting even the mod exorbitant of the 
papal claims, the manifeft tendency whereof is to eftabliOi an ec- 
clefiaftical defpctifm, the aim of their dodtrine, in fpite of the 
canons, has long been to lelTen, as much as pofTible, our reverence 
of the Fathers. What was faid by Friar Theatin, an Italian, in 
a public difputation at Paris with fome French divines, in pre- 
fence of the Pope's nuncio and many prelates, may be juftly con- 
fidered as fpoken in the fpirit, and expreffive of the fentiments of 
the whole party. When his antagonift Baron, a Dominican, 
urged the teftimonies of feveral Fathers, in direct oppofition to 
the doctrine maintained by the Italian, the latter did not recur to 
the chimerical diflindtions of the Sorbonifls, but making light of 
tliat long train of authorities, replied contemptuouily, " As to 
" what concerns the authority of the Fathers, I have only to fay 
** with the church, Qmnes fan5li patres orate pro nobis j^^ an 
anfwer which, at the fame time that it greatly fcandaliz^d the 
Galican do6tors, was highly approved by the nuncio, well know- 
ing that it would be very much relifbed at Rome. So iimilar on 
this head are the fentiments of the moft oppofite fects. Nor is 
this the only indance wherein the extremes approach nearer to 
each other, than the middle does to either. 1 may add, that an 
unbounded refpect for the Fathers was, till the commencement of 
the fixteenth century, the prevalent feutiment in Chriftendom, 
Since that time their authority has declined apace, and is at pre- 
fe'ritj in rriany places, totally annihilated. 

1 own that, in my opinion, they of former generations were in 
one extreme, and we of the prefent are in another. The Fathers 
are not entitled to our adoration, neither do they merit our con- 
tempt. If fome of them were weak and credulous, others of 
them were both learned and judicious. In what depends purely 
on reafon and argument, we ought to treat them with the fame 
impartiality we do the moderns, carefully weighing what is faid, 
not who fays it. In what depends oa teftimony, they are, in 
every cafe wherein no particular pailion can be fulpetted to have 
l-vared them, to be preferred before modern interpreters or an- 
.'iotators. I fay act this to iniinuate tha: we can rely more' on 

Vol. I. p th^it 

114 P R E L I M I N A R T 

their integrity, but to fignify that many points were with tliem 
a fubjeft of teftimony, which, with modern critics, are matter 
merely of conjecture, or at moflof abl^rufe and critical dlfcufiicn. 
It is only from ancient authors, that thofe ancient ufages, in other 
things as well as in language, can be difcovered by us, which to 
them ftood on the footing of matters of facl, whereof they coiild 
not be ignorant. Lano-uaije, as has been often obferved, is fouiid- 
ed in ufe ; and ancient ufe, like all other ancient fa6ls, can be 
conveyed to us only by written teftimony. Befides, the fails 
regarding the import of words (when controverfy is out of the 
queftion) do no:, like other facls, give fcope to the paflions to 
operate ; and if mifreprefented, they expofe either the ignorance 
or the bad faith of the author to his contemporaries. 1 do not 
fay, therefore, that we ought to confide in the verdift of the Fa- 
thers as judges, but that we ought to give them an impartial 
hearing as, in many cafes, the only competent witnelTes. And 
every body muft be fenlible that the dired teftimony of a plain 
man, in a matter which comes within the fphere of his know- 
ledge, is mere to be regarded than the fubtile conjectures of an 
able fcholar who does not fpeak from knowledge, but gives the 
conclulions he has drawn from his own, precarious reafonings, or 
from thofe of others. 

§ 10. And even as to what is advanced not on knowledge but 
on opinion, I do not think that the moderns are in general en- 
titled to the preference. On controverted articles of faith, both 
ought to be conlultcd with caution, as perfons who may reafori- 
ably be thought prejudiced in favour of the tenets of their party. 
If, in this refped, there be a difference, it is entirely in favour 
of the ancients. An increafe of years has brought to the church 
an increafe of controverfies. Difputes have multiplied, and been 
dogmatically decided. The confequence whereof is, that religion 
was not near fo much moulded into the fyftematic form for many 
centuries, as it is in thefe latter ages. Every point was not ia 
ancient times fo minutely difcuflld, and every thing, even to the 
phrafeology, fettled in the feveral feds, with fo much hypercri- 
tical and metaphyfical, not to fay fophiftical, fubtlety, as at pre- 
fent. They were, therefore, if not entirely free, much lei's en- 
tangled with decifions merely human, than more recent commen- 
tators ; too many of whom feem to have had it for th'.ir princi- 
pal object, to bi ing the language of Scripture to as clofe a con- 
formity, as poflible, to their own ftandard, and make it fpeak 
the dialed of their fed. So much for the preference I give to 
the ancient, particularly to the Greek, expt>unders of Scripture, 
■when they confine themfelves to the grammatical fenfe j and fo 
much for the regard to which I think the early Chriftian writer: 
juftly entitled. 

§ u. To the aid we may have from them, I add that of the 



"ancient verfions, and laft of all that of modern fchollafts, annota. 
tors, and tranfliitors. lu the choice of thel'e we ought to he 
more influenced by the acknowledged learning, dlfcernment, and 
candour of the- perfon, than by the religions denonninatioa to 
which he belonged, or the fide which, on conteited articles, he 
moft favoured. So far from limiting ourfeives to thofe of one 
fetl, or of one fer of tenets, it is only by t!ie free uie of the cri- 
ticifms and arguments of oppofite fides, as urged by themlelve'?, 
that undue prepolTeffions are bell cured, or even prevented. We 
have heard of poifons which ferve as antidotes againft other 
poifons of oppofite quality. It will be no inconvenient confe- 
quence of the ufe of interpreters additled to adverfe parties, if 
their exceflfcs ferve mutually to correft one another. 

§ 12. But 1 am aware that fome will be aftonifned that, among 
the aififiances enumerated for interpreting the Scriptures, I have 
made no mention of two helps much celebrated by writers of al- 
moft all denominations. Thefe are the analogy of the faith, and 
the etymology of the words. It will no doubt be proper now to 
enquire impartially, what aid, in the interpret.ition cf dark and 
doubtful palTages, may reafonably be fought for and expeftei 
from thefe. 

§ 13. Firft, of the analogy of the faith. As far as I can col- 
3e£i from the import of the terms, what is meant by propofit5g 
this as a rule of interpretation in every dabious cafe, it iliould 
• be, that when a paffa^e appears ambiguous, or is fufceptible of 
different interpretations, that interpretadon is always to be adopt- 
ed which is moft confoimable to the whole fcheine of religion, 
in refpecl both of dodrines i:nd of precepts, delivered in the fa- 
cred oracles. Now, there can be no quellijn that, if the enqui- 
rer be previoully in the certain knowledge of that whole fcheme, 
this rule is excellent, and, in a great rneafure, fuperfedes the ne- 
cefiity of any other. But let me aili hirn, or rather let him afli 
birnfclf, ere he proceed, this fimple queltion, What is the reafon, 
the principal rfeafon at leah, for v.'hich the ftudy of Scripture is 
fo indifpenfable a duty ? It is precifcly, all conliftent Protellant.3 
w ill anfwer, that thence we may difcover what the whole fcheme 
jof religion is. Are we then to begin our examination with ta- 
king it for granted that, without any enquiry, we are perfeclly 
acquainted with this fcheme already ? Is not this going to Scrip- 
ture, not in order to learn the truths it contains, but in order to 
find fomething that may be made to ratify our own opinions ? 

If no more were meant by making the analogy of the faith 
the rule of interpreting, than that, where an exprelTion is either 
dark or equivocal, an interpretation were not to be adopted, 
which would contradift the fentiments of the writer, manifeftly 
declared in other paflages ijerfcdly clear and unequivocal ; this 
is no n:ijre than what candour woald allow in interpreting any 


tl6 ? ic E L I M I K A R Y 

profane author, who feems to have enjoyed the exercife of his 
reafon ; nay, though the rule were extended to what dould be 
found clearly contained in any other facred writer, it would be 
but of little fignificance as an help in the explanation of the holy 
oracles. For it is only the uncontroverted truths, about which 
there has never aril'en any dcubt in the church, that ought to be 
comprehended in the phrafe, the analogy of the Jaith^ when pro- 
pofed in this manner as a canon to direct us in the interpretation 
of Scripture. 

' But why,' fay you, * fhould we confine the meaning to thp 
' uncontroverted truths ?' Attend a little, and you mufl perceive 
that what I have now advanced, is almod felf evident. When I 
recur to holy writ, my view is, or ought to be, that 1 may knew 
what it teaches ; more efpecially that, as its doctrine is lo vari- 
pufly reprefented by different fefk^, I may thence difcover, amid 
fuch a multiplicity of jarring fentiments, where the tiuth lies. 
My purpofe manifellly is, by the Scripture, to judge concerning 
all fuch controverted fentiments, and not, by a particular ft of 
controverted fentiments, previoufly and therefore inconfiderately 
adopted, to determine concerning the fenfe of Scripture. This 
would not be judging the parties by the law, but refolving to 
judge of the import of the law by the interpretation that Ihall 
De given by one of the parties, whom we have contracted a. 
llrong inclination to favour. Surely fuch a conduft in a civil 
judge would be univerfally pronounced incompatible with every 
principle of reafon and juftice. And is not at lead as great a de- 
ference due from the devout Chrilfian to the divine oracles, as is 
due from the fecular judge to the law of his country ? 

§ 14. In vain do we fearch the Scriptures for their teftimony 
concerning Chrift, if, independently of thefe Scriptures, we have 
recei%'^ed a teflimony from another quarter, and are determined to 
admit nothing as the teftimony of Scripture, which will not per- 
fectly quadrate v/ith that formerly received. This was the very 
fource of the blindnefs of the Jews in our Saviour's time. They 
fearched the Scriptures as much as we do ; but, in the difpofitiot> 
they were in, they v.'oald never have difcovered what that facrec^ 
volume teftifies of Chrifl ; (fee John v. 39, 40. in this Tranfla- 
tion, with the note upon it.) Why ? btcaufe their great rule of 
interpretation was the analogy of the faith ; or, in other words, 
the fyftem of the Pharifean fcribes, the doilrine then in vogue, 
and in the profound veneration of which they had been educa- 
ted. This is that veil by which the underflandings of that peo- 
ple were darkened, even m read'ng the law, and of which thq 
apoftle obferved. that it remained unremoved in his day, and of 
which we ourfelves have occafioa to obferve, that it remains un- 
removed in ours. 

And is it not precifely in the fame wayth^t the parafe is ufed ' 


13 f S S E R T A T I N S. II7 

by every feS of Chriftians, for the particular fyflem or digell of 
tenets for which they themfelves have tha greatefl reverence ? 
The Latin church, and even the Greek, are explicit in their de- 
clarations on this article. With each, the analogy of the faith 
is their own fyftem alone. And that different parties of Protef- 
tants, though more referved iu their manner of ipeaking, aim at 
the fame thing, is undeniable ; the fame, 1 mean, coufidered rela- 
tively to the fpeakers, for abfolutely confidered, every party 
means a different thing. Wiien a Lutheran tells you, "You are 
*' to put no interpretation on any portion of Scripture, but what 
" perfeftly coincides with the analogy of the faith ^'' fift him ever 
fo little on the import of this phralJe, an4 you fliall find, that if 
he mean any thing, it is, that you are to admit no expofuion that 
will not exadlly tally with the fyftem of his great founder, Lu- 
ther. Nor is he fingular in this. A Calviaiil has the fame pre- 
poiTeilion in favour of the fcheme of Calvin, and an Arminian of 
that of Arminius. Yet they will all tell you with one voice, 
that their refpedive doctrines are to be tried by Scripture, and 
by Scripture alone. To the law and to the teflimony, is tlie com- 
mon cry ; only every one of them, the better to fecure the deci- 
fion on the fide hp has efpoufcd, would have you previoufly re- 
folve, to put no fenfe whatever on the law and the teftimony, but 
\vhat his favourite doftor will admit. Thus they run on in a 
fliuSling circular fort of argument, which, though they ftudioufly 
avoid expo'ing it, is, when dragged into the open light, neither 
more nor lefs than this : " You are to try our docirine by the 
" Scripture only. But then you are to be very careful that you 
" explain the Scripture fokly by our dodtrine." A. wonderful 
plan of trial, which begins with giving judgment, and ends with 
examining the proof, wherein the whole fkill and ingenuity of 
the judges are to be exerted in wrefting the evidence fo as to 
give it the appearance of fupporting the fenience pronounced be- 

' But,' fay fome, * is not this mode of interpretation warranted 

* by apoitolical authority ? Does not Paul, Rom. xii. 6. in fpeak- 

* ing of the exercife of the fpirituai gifts, enjoin the prophets to 

* prophefy, )f.s^rn rny «v*Xay;«ii tjjj ■pns-ia?, according to the proportion 

* of faith, as our tranflators render it, but as fome critics explain 

* it, according to the analogy of the faith ^ Though this expo- 
• fition has been admitted into fome verfions *, and adopted by 

Hammond and other commentators, and may be called literal, it 
is fuited neither to the ordinary meaning of tlie words, nor to the 
tenor of the context. The v/ord MuXoyi* flridlly denotes pro- 
portion, meafure, rate, but by no means that complex notion 


* Port Royal and Saci, tliough tranflating from the Vulgate, which Tays, 
fecHndum ratigncm Jidei, have rendeied the claufe, felon Vanalo^e tt la regit 
4f Ig/ti, 


conveyed in the aforefaid phrafe by the term analogy,, which h^s 
been well obferved by Whitby to be particularly unfuitable in 
this place, where the apoftle treats of thofe who fpealc by infpi- 
ration, not of thofe who explain what has been thus fpoken by 
others. The context manifeltly leads us to underhand uvxXaytx 
«-»«»5, V. 6. as equivalent to ,t«sTg«» m^-ivf, v, 3. And for the bet- 
ter underflanding of this phrafe, the meafure of faith ^ it may be 
proper to obferve, I. That a ftrong conviftion of any tenet, from 
whatever caufe it arifes, is in Scripture fometimes termed fiith. 
Thns in the fame ^piftie, Rom. xiv. 22. the apoftle fays, Hajl 
thou faith ? have it to thy fAf before God. The fcope of his rea- 
foning {hews that nothing is there meant hy faith, but a convic- 
tion of the truth in regard to the article of which he had been 
treating, namely, the equality of days and meats, in point of fanc- 
tity, under the gofpel difpenfation. The fame is evidently the 
meaning of the word, v. 23 Whatfoever is not of faith, is fn,i 
where, without regard to the morality of an adtion abflraftly 
conudered, that is concluded to be fin which is done by one who 
doubts of its lawfulnefs ; 2dly, As to fpiritual gifts, prophecy and 
infpiration in particular, they appear to have been accompanied 
with fuch a faith or conviftion that they came from the Spirit, 
as left no room for heiltation. And indeed it is eafy to perceive 
that fomething of this kind was ablblutely necelTary to enable 
the infpired perfon to diftinguifn what proceeded from the Spirit 
of God, from what was the creature of his own imagination. 
It was obferved before, (Diff, 1. Part ii. § 3.) that the prophets 
of God were not adled upon like machines, in delivering their 
prediftions, as the diviners were fuppofed to be among the hea- 
then, but had then, as at other times, the free ufe of their facul- 
ties, both of body and mind. This caution is therefore with 
great propriety given them by the apoftle, to induce them to be 
attentive in prophefying not to exceed the precife meafure al- 
lowed them, (for different mearures of the fame gift were com- 
mitted to different perfons), and not to mingle aught of their own 
v.'ith the things of Cod's Spirit. This diftindion, he tells them, 
th y have it in their power to make, by means of 'that lively 
faith with which the divine illumination is accompanied. Though 
a fenfe fomewhat difFc^rent has been given to the words by fome 
ancient Greek expofitors, none of them, as far as I rem.ember, 
feems to have formed a conception of that fenfe, which, as was 
obferved above, has been given by fome moderns. 

So much for what is commonly underflood by the analogy of 
l/jtf/rtr>A,fo unanimoufly recommended as a rule of interpretation, 
but fo difcordantly applied ; and fo much for the regard that is 
due to it. 

§ 15. Ai.'>ther ordinary method of explaining is, by entering, 
on every occafiou, into a nainute and nice examination of the ety- 


rnologf of the principal words employed in the fentence. This^ 
though generally carried to excefs, neither proceeds from the like 
partial prepoffeffions as the former, nor is fo hazardous in its 
confequences. There are cafes wherein no reat'oiiable perfon can. 
doubt, that the fjgnification of a word may be fully afcertaiued 
from the knowledge we have of the meaning of the etymon ; 
for inftance, in verbal nouns exprefling the aftion fignilred by the 
verb, as >cpifi», judgment, from x^tvuv, to judge, or the actor, as 
xpiTAu ^ J'^dge, from the fame root ; in concretes from abftracls, 
as aM^'UCi, true, from ux>i^zi», truth ; or converfely, abHrads 
from concretes, as hKcaos-vtr,, juftice^ from l^etoii, jt/Jt. In cum- 
pofitions alfo analogically formed, the fenfe of the compound 
term may often be certainly known, by the import of the iimple 
terms of which it is compofed. Thus, no man will hefitate a 
moment to pronounce from etymology, that (piXf}o,ci mufl mean^ 
a lover of pleafure, and tpiXcBic?, a lover of God ,• though thefe 
words occur but once in the New Teitament, and never in the 
Greek verfion of the Old. In matters fo obvious, the bare 
knowledge of the rudiments of the language renders the mention 
of any rules, fave thofe of grammar, unnecelTary, almoil as much 
as for determining the import of the future tenfe. of a verb from 
that of the prefent, or the fignification of the pailive voice frori^ 
that of the adive. There are inllancts, however, wherein the 
verb in the paffive form undergoes an additional change of mean- 
ing, befide v/hat the analogy of the language requires. 

§ 16. But there are a great many cafes wherein, if I may be 
allowed the expreffion, the pedigree of the derivative or of the 
compound, cannot be deduced with equal clearnefs ; and there 
are many cafes wherein, though its dcfcent may be clearly traced, 
we fhould err egregioufly, if we were to fix its meaning from 
that of the primitive or root. As to the firll, that we fbould not 
haftily decide concerning the import of an obfcure or unufual 
,term, from that of another better known, but of whofe relation 
to the former we are uncertain, is indeed manifefl. But evea 
often, where the connexion is unqueilionable, the fenfe of the 
one does not afcertain the fignification of the other. It will noc 
be improper to give a few illulfrations of this do£lrine, as I 
know nothing in which modern critics are more frequently mif- 
led, than in their reafonings from etymology. I Ihall exem- 
plify this remark firll in fimple words, and afterwards in com- 

§ 17. The Greek word r^xymoc, from -r^xyc?, a goat, if it oc- 
curred very feldom in Greek authors, and if in the few places 
where it occurred, the words in connection did not fuffice for af- 
certaining the fenfe, and if the cuftom which gave rife to the 
common acceptation of that term had never been related by any 
ancient writer, nobody, by the aid of etymology, could have 



imagined the meaning to be that which we know certainly that 
it is. As much may be faid of the word kuiaiko^, from KUftvi, a 
village. By neither Ihould we have been led to think, of poetry 
or any of its fpecies. To the Greek word x»^««aj, the Latin 
pnganus anfwers exactly in being fimilarty derived from a primi- 
tive of the fame fignification. Bat it is very far from corref- 
ponding in fenfe. Nor does it, in the ufe which foon became 
univerfal among Chriftians, corrcfpond Better with its etymon 
pagus. When Chriftianity became very general throughout the 
empire, as all the churches were in the cities and great towns^ 
where the bifhops had their refidence, the Chriftians found a con- 
venience in living near their place of worfhip, which made them 
moftly refort to the cities or their fuburbs. Thofe who were at- 
tached to the ancient idolatry, not having the fame motive for 
preferring the to%vns, and probably liking better, when Chrilti- 
anity came to have the aicendant, to afiLciate with one another, 
lived generally in the villages. Hence villager and idolater be- 
came fynonymous. This fenfe of the Latin paganm has paflcd 
into modern tongues. The Italians {"ij pagan o,\.\\<t French payen^ 
and the Englifh pagan^ to denote the fame charadler. The En- 
glifh word villain^ in low Latin villarius, a farmer, a villager, 
though nearly coinciding in etymology, has come gradually by 
ufe to fignify a worthlefs unprincipled man. Thus the three 
words xi)ft.i)t«i in Greek, paganus in Latin, and villain in EngliQi, 
though evidently fo conformable in etymology, that they ought 
all to denote the fame thing, namely villager, have, for many 
ages, both loft that fignification, and acquired others in which 
they do not in the lead refemble one another. If the ufe, in 
thefe languages, fhould ever come to be very little known, and 
the hiflory of the nations nearly loft, we may form a guefs at 
the abfurdities in explaining thtfe terms into which men would 
be mifled by etymology. hiJ^lp kedejhah^ in Hebrew, fignifies 
a harlot, a word manifeflly fprung, according to the invariable 
rules of that language, from $^"Tp kadaPi^ to JnnBify. What 
could give rife to fo ftrange a deviation from the primitive mean- 
ing, it is perhaps now impollible to difcover. 

In procefs of time, words in every tongue vary from their ori- 
ginal import, in confequence of the gradual influence of inciden- 
tal canfes, and the changes in manners and fentiments which they 
occafion- Hence the word TVA among the Hebrews, which de= 
noted no more at firft than a female Uranger, came at laft to fig- 
nify a common proftitute ; and is almolt always ufed in this 
fenfe by Solomon in the Book of Proverbs. The origin of this 
application may indeed be er.fily traced from their laws. The 
women of that occupation among them were all foreigners, no 
daughter of Ifrael being permitted to follow fo infamous a pro- 
feftion. It is an obferv^ation of Cicero, if I remember right, 



that the word ho^ is with them anciently meant yhreigner, which, 
having been given at firft, through delicacy, as a milder name for 
people with whom they were at war, became, through long- con- 
tinued ufe, the proper appellation for enemy. By the lik.e gra- 
dation doubtlefs amongft us, the word knave, from denoting fer- 
vant, has degenerated into the fign of a character diftinguifhed. 
more for turpitude of manners, than for meannefs of condition. 
It would not be fo eafy to divine how the word beholden^ the 
paffive participle of the verb to behold, came, from lignifying 
feen or perceived^ to denote indebted. Innumerable examples of 
this kind might be mentioned. 

§ J 8. But from fimple words to proceed, as I propofed, to 
compounds ; were we to lay it down as a principle, that the 
combined meanings of the component parts will always give us 
the fenfe of the compound, we ihould conclude that the Greek, 
word xttva^ysj is equivalent to the Englilh poetic word ommjic, to 
which it exaftly correfponds in etymology ; yet nothing can be 
more different in fignification. The former is always adopt*;d in 
a bad, the latter in a good fenfe. Hardly any rule in the com- 
pofition of Greek words holds more uniformly than that the ad- 
verb fv gives the addition of a good quality to the word with 
which it is joined : yet the term e-iiSfls which, if nny faith were 
due to etymology, fhould mean a virtuous and worthy man, de- 
notes generally a Jimphton or 'fopL The Greek word «ut«?k£(« 
exactly correfponds, in refpect of the fignification of its compo- 
nent parts, to the Englilh word Jelf fuffi.ciency : yet the former 
has a good meaning, and denotes contentment ; the latter, except 
when applied to the Deity, has invariably a bad meaning, and 
fignifies arrogance. Sometimes the fenfe of one of the words in 
compofition is totally loll, the compound term being applied in a 
manner which excludes it. Thus the word oiKo}c^<a, ought to fig- 
nify, to build a houfe, but it is not only conrtrued with t«^o?, a 
fepulchre^ (which by metaphor may indeed be called a houie, be- 
ing the receptacle of the dead), but with ivn-iurAe/ov, altar, xhpx'- 
Kc^7i'„ bulwark, and feveral other terms which, in no fenfe, pro* 
per or figurative, can be denominated houjes. Such anomalies, - 
both in derivation and in compontion, are to be found in all 
tongues, infomuch that often etymology points to one meanino-, 
and ule to another. Were we to mind the indication of the for- 
mer, the Englifh word always ought to be rendered into Latin 
omnimodo and not femper ; our verb, to vouchjafe. (liould dei.ate, 
r-j give one a prote£iion^ or to injure one^s fafety, and not to deign 
or condefcend. The itifeparable prepolition- re in Englilh com- 
monly denotes ogazn^ but to reprove is not to prove again, to re~ 
commend is not to commend again ; nor does to remark mean, to 
nark again. As little can thefe be explained by the aid of the 
kdv'erb back^ lika the verbs to recal and to return. 

Vol. I. Q^ $ 15. la 


§ 19. In the above examples I have confined myfelf to terifis 
whofe meaning, though aa exception from the rules of analogy, 
is inconiroveitible ; my principal objeft being to evince, to the 
fatisfaction of every intelligent reader, that the fenfe of words is 
often totally different from that to which the etymology points, 
and that confequently in all the cafes wherein ufe cannot be dif- 
covtred, and wherein the context does not neceffarily fix the 
meaning, the convi6lion which arifes from etymology alone is 
conlidcrably inferior to that which arifes either from known ufe, 
or from the words immediately conne£ted. But, before I dif- 
mifs this topic, I ftiall offer fome criticifms on a few pafiages of 
the New Teftament, which may appear, on a fuperficial view, 
more controvertible, in order to (hew with how much caution we 
ought to proceed in rendering a compound word in one language, 
by one in another fimilarly compounded ; and that even though 
the original term be not, like thofe above fpecified, an exception, 
in refpe£l of meaning, from the common rules of analogy. 

The word h4'vx,oc, ufed by the apoftle James, compounded of 
J(f, fignifying in compofition double or tivice, and ^v^ri, for//, mind, 
fpirit. could not, one would at firft imagine, be more properly or 
literally rendered, than by the fimilar Englilh compound double- 
minded. But this, though in fome fenfe it may be called a lite- 
ral verfion, is a mif-tranflation of the word, inafmuch as it con- 
veys a fenfe entirely different. Yet the meaning of the original 
term is analogical ; only there are different ways wherein the 
mind or foul may be charged with duplicity. One is, when it 
fometimes leans to one opinion, fometimes to the contrary ; ano- 
ther is, when it fecretly harbours paffions and opinions the re- 
verfe of thofe which it openly profefTes. No two meanings can 
be more different ; the firft is certainly the import of the Greek 
word, the fecond of the Englifh, which is juilly explained by 
Johnfon, deceitful, infidious. To recur to the pafTage itfelf, James 
1. 8. AvfiP ^i-^/v^ti; ux-xTK^ccrai e> 7r«ff-«/5 t«(? oooi^ avra, in the common 
tranflation, ^ double minded man is unftable in oil his ways ; firft, 
the fentiment itfeif may fuggeft a doubt of the iuftnefs of the 
verfion. There appears no immediate connexion between de- 
ceitfulnefs and inconftancy. The deceitful are often but too fta- 
ble in a bad courfe. The doubknefs exprefTed in the Englilh 
word does not impl)^ fuddcn changes of any kind ; but folely 
that the real motives of conduft and the outward profeffions dif- 
agree, or that the perfon intends one thing, whilft he profefTes 
another. Now who fees not that, in refpcit of both the inten- 
tion and the profefTjon, he maybe very fteady ? Ficklenefs is not 
remarkably an attendant on hypocrify. When I examine the 
context, 1 find nothing there that relates to fincerity or the con- 
formity that ought to fubfift between a man's words and his 
thoughts j but I am led diredlly by it to think of conftancy ia 



right principles, as the apoftle had been, in the precedinq; words, 
urging the neceffity of unfhaken faith. This verfe, if dr-^v^oi be 
underftood to mean unfteadj in the belief of the truth, perfeftly 
coincides with, and fupports the apoftle's argument, implying 
that inconftancy in principles produces inconftancj in the whole 
conduct, than which no ientimtnt can be clearer. 

To recur, however, to fome of the other rules of criticliing 
above mentioned (not as necefliiry in the prefent inftance, but 
for the fake of illuilration), and firft to Scriptural ufage : I find, 
on enquiry, that there is only one other pafiage in the New Tef- 
tament wherein the word occurs. It is in the fame epiltle, but 
the expreflion there is too general to afcertain the import of the 
term in queftion. As the word i? not to be found in the Septu- 
agint, nor even in the Apocrypha, there is reafon to believe that 
it is not affe^led by the idiom of the fynagogue. I therefore 
apply to common ufe, and lind that the word uniformly denotes 
doubtful, JluSiuating in refpecl of one's judgment. All its con- 
jugates in like manner fupport this meaning ; ^■yux.ix is doubt or 
hefitancy^ h-^vyjij, to doubt, to hefitate. If we apply to the an- 
cient Greek expofitors, they all interpret it in the fame way. 
And as this is none of the paffages whereon any of their theo- 
logical controverfies were founded, we can give them the greater 
credit. I Ihall only tranfcribe the explanation given by Ecume- 
»ius *, which is to this eftVcl: : *' Lei^-jy^aq urr,^ is a man of unfet- 
*' tied and fluctuating fentiments, too folicitous about the prefent 
*' to attain the future, too anxious about the future to fecure the 
*' prefent, who driven hither and thither in his judgment of 
*' things, is perpetually fliifting the object, who this moment 
** would facriiice all for eternitr, and the next would renounce 
♦' any thing for this tranfient life." The fenfe of the apoftle's 
expreflion may be therefore juftly given in thefe words : A man 
Unjteady in his opinions, is in all his oBions iucorylant. 

§ 20. To the above example I fiaall add d few of the moll 
common of all kinds of compcrition, a prepcfltion and a verb in 
familiar ufe. My intention is chiefly to ibow, that a deviation 
in interpreting, fmall to appearance, even fuch as is apt to be 
overlooked by a reader deceived by the correfpondence of the 
themes, is often fufHcient to pervert the fenfe, either by rendering 
the expreflion totally unmeaning, or by giving it a wrong mean- 
ing. The verb o^ccv, to fee, is common ; ^^o in compofition ge- 
nerally anfwers to the Englifti infeparable prepofitionybr^ . The 
verb, therefore, Trsos^atw, or, in the middle voice, wgesg^aw*;, fliould 
mean analogically, one would imagine, toforefee: It is accord- 

^'V'-'/i" Silos*, rev anTl^Cifiv, rev urf.piKrev Asyw, rev f^rsrs x^ej r« 
fti?i>.evTX TTXyiiJi, fA/irt TT^ei ret Trueoyrx eecrcpx^ui n^^x(r^iV6v, uXXu rri^i x«- 
fHct etyeuivot T^tat^i^ctufoy, xui TOTE fiit Tm fiiXht^7m, wore ?5 ruv -nu.- 


ingly In one place, Afts ii. 25. fo rendered, I for ef aw tie Lord 
always before my face^ in Greek, Traoai^Mi^r,-/ tm Ku/Jisv svi)crje» f4« cii« 
-xti'm',. The words are a quotation from the Pfalms, svi. 8. and 
are literally copied from the Septuagint. 

It will naturally occur to an attentive Englifh reader to en- 
quire', What is the meaning of the word ybrf/aiy in this pafTage? 
Forefight has a reference to the future ; whereas the Pfalmill is 
fpeaking of things as prefent : for, though it is true that the 
words relate to the Meffiah, who was many centuries pofterior 
to David, they are not announced in the form of a predidion. 
David, in fpeaking, perfonates the MelTiah, of whom he was an 
eminent type, and afcribes as to himfelf what, in the fublimeft 
fenfe, was applicable only to that Illuftrious defcendent It is, 
as it were, Chrift who fpeaks. The Lord he reprefents as al- 
ways before him, not as to he in fome future period before him, 
aiding he r», not he will he, on my right hand. In regard to the 
compound verb, it occurs only in one other paffage of the New 
Tellament, to be confidered afterwards, and in no place of the 
Septuagint, except that above quoted. But, on examining more 
ciofely the import of the (imple words, we difcover that the 
Greek prepofition may relate to place as well as to time, and 
that it is ofren merely what grammarians call inteJifve ; that is, 
it does not alter the fenfe of the limple verb to which it is pre- 
fixed, it only renders the expreflion more emphatical. Thus the 
vejb TT^eo^xu is as literally rendered profpicio as prcevideo, and 
has been in this paffage more fitly rendered fo by Beza. It may 
be objected that this explanation produces a pleonafm in the fen- 
tence, as it is immediately added, eviyTr/av ,«««, before me. But fuch 
pleonafms are not uncommon in Scripture. Thus, Rom. viii. 
20. To TTPju^* hyri^i'n\iy//i,iH VTnp yty^uv. Matt. Vll. 2.4- ^^' Oti? axe- 
^otiiis-i TJ)V otisixv X'JTH, Rev. XTV. 3. Oiy»)]» -/^Hcx Kt^^g^Siy KtBc^i^arrav 

£y rati y.iBa^zii ctvTuy. The laft four words in this verfe are plainly 
implied in the participle. The phrafe which occurs oftener than 
once, vvoTTohov rm ttc-j^uv avra, is chargeable with the like redun- 
dancy. Add to all this, that the Hebrev.' word here tranflated 
wgsflgxiy by the Seventy, never fignifies to forefee^ but to place, to 
fet. In this paffage, being applied to the mind, it denotes the 
Pfalmifl's, or rather the Mefllah's fixed attention on God as al- 
ways with him. 

The other paffage in which this verb occurs is alfo in the 

Acts, XXI. 2p. Hr«» 7r»6iUpzx,oTii Tpap;f4,c>v Tav Eipsirjev sv Tr, ttoXh (tuv xvn/. 

Here the connection, without other refource, fhews fufficiently 
that the fimple verb i^xoj means literally to fee, and the prepofition 
w§3 before, in refpecl of time, not of place, and yet that tt^oo^xu 
does not imply toforefee^ but to fee before. The difference lies 
here. The former is to fee or perceive an event before it hap- 
pen, the latter denotes onlj to fee either perfon or thing before 



the prefent time, which alone can be the fenfe of this paflage, 
and which is therefore rightly rendered by our tranflators, They 
had feen before with him^ in the city. Trophimus an F.phejtan, 
To have faid, *' They had forefeen with him," would have to- 
tally marred the fenfe. Eat oar tranflators have not always 
been equally attentive. 

§21.1 Ihall add an example, not unlike the former, in the 
verb -TT^oy ivn^y.u, though the difficulty, v.ith regard to it, arifes as 
much from the fignification of the iimple verb, as from that of 
the prepofition. Paul fays, Rom. xi. 2. Ow. cfXiJ-7£T» i ©ja; re* 
Xcccy »uTtf ov TTfo-yviu, which our tranflators render, God hcitb not 
caji away his people which he foreknew. The laft claufe in tiiis 
verfion conveys to my mind no meaning whatever. To foreknow 
always f^gnifies to know fome event before it happen ; but no 
event is here mentioned, fo that we are at a lofs to difcover the 
cbjedl of the foreknowledge mentioned. Is it only the exillence 
of the people ? Even this is not explicitly faid ; but if this were 
the writer's intention, we (hould itill be at a lofs for the fenfe. 
There is nothing in this circumftatice w-hich dillingui flies God's 
people from any other people, for the exiftence of all v/ere 
equally foreknown bv him ; whereas here fomething peculiar is 
plainly intended, which is fuggefted as a reafon to prevent our 
thinking that God would ever totally call them away. Thougli 
nothing, to appearance, can anfwer more exaftly than the Eng- 
MCn foreknew does to the Greek Trgesyvw, it in reality labours un- 
der a double defeft. The firft is the fame which was obferved 
in the preceding paragraph, in rendering the prepofuion ; for 
there is the fame difference between knowing before zxidi fore- 
knowing, that there is between feeing before "undforefeeiti^. Our 
tranflators have, on fome occafions, fliown themfelves fenfibie of 
the difference. Accordingly they render 9rgey,v»5-j;«>n? ,«s w/u^iv, 
Atls xxvi. 5. which knew me from the beginning., not Joreknevj 
me. The example above quoted from the tv.-enty-firil chapter of 
the A6ts, is a fimilar inftance. 

The prepofitions in the two languages, though nearly, are not 
perfeftly correfpondent, efpecially in compofition. V/ifh us the 
infeparable prepofliiony^rc', prefixed to know, fee, tell, andy^CH, 
always relates to fome event which is knoiun, feen, told, and 
fhewn, before it happen ; whereas the Greek prepofition Tr^a does. 
not neceflarily relate to an event, and fignifles no more than before 
this time. The difference in thefe idioms maybe thus illuftrated. 
A friend introducing a perfon with whom he fuppofes me unac- 
cuainted, fays, 2'his is fuch a man. I make anfwer, / knew him 
before. I Ihould fpeak nonfenfe if I faid, 1 foreknew him. Yet 
in Greek I might fay properly ^^oiyyc^y. 

Another inflance wherein our mterpreters have fliown an at- 
tention to this diftindion, we have in the fecond epiftle to the 



Corinthians, vii. 3. where thev tranflate the word 7rfi6»^Kx verr 
properly, / have /aid before. Every reader of difceramcnt mull 
perceive that it would have been abfurd to render it in that place, 
/ ha'ce foretold. 

But to return to the paflage under review in the epiftle to the 
Romans : it was obferved, that the common verfion of the word 
«-g»iyr», in that pafTnge, labours under a double defecl. It is not, 
in my judgment, barely in tranflating the prepofnion that the 
error lies, but alfb in the fenfe affigned to the verb compounded 
%vith it. That God knew Ifrael before, in the ordinary meaning 
of the word knowing., could never have been fuggefted as a reafon 
to hinder us from thinking that he would ever call; them off; for, 
from the beginning, all nations and all things are alike known to 
God. But the verb ynu>i7Ka, in Heileniftic ufe, has all the lati- 
tude of fignification which the verb y\^ j'mdang has, b'?ing that 
whereby the Seventy commonly render the Hebrew word. Now 
the Hebrew v/ord means not only to know, in the comrr:on ac- 
ceptation, but to acknoxiledge and to approve. Nothing is more 
common in Scripture than this ufe. ** The Lord kno-weth, y(ri<?««, 
** the way of the righteous," Pfalm i. 6. that is, approvetb. 
*' Then I will profefs unto them, I never knew you," lym, ac- 
knowledged you for mine, Matt. vji. 23. " If any man love 
*' God, the fame ib known of him," 1 Cor. viii. 3. tyiu^M, ac- 
incvjledged. If, therefore, in the paffage under examination, we 
underftand in this way the verb -/ivs/s-Kiy, adding the import of the 
prepofition 5r^e, before, formerly^ heretofore, the meaning is both 
clear and pertinent : " God hath not caft off his people whom 
heretofore he acknowledged.." 

I fhall juft add a fenfe of the verb Tretyinxry-a., as ufed by the 
apoftle Peter, i Pet. i. 20, different from both the former. The 
verb yjvs/jTta in clafilcal ufe often denotes to decree, to crdain, to 
give fentence as a judge, and therefore -^r^eyniurKv, to foreordain^ 
Stc. It is in this fenfe only we can underftand u^tiyvurfAivv ^59 
xxrxU>.r,!; xtrf/.M, which our interpreters have rightly rendered 
*^ foreordained, before the foundation of the world." But they 
have not fo well tranflated the verbal noun vf^cyiina-n in the fecond 
verfe of the chzpttr, foreknow/edge, which renders the expreflion 
indefinite and obfcure, not to fay, improper. It ought, for the 
fame reafon, to have been predetermination. The fame word, in 
the fame fignification, occurs in the A£ls, chap. ii. 23. where it 
is alfo improperly Tendered foreknowledge. 

§ 22. It may be thought that, in tlie compofition of fubftan- 
tives, or of an adjeflive and a fubftantive in familiar ufe, there is 
hardly a poffibility of error, the import of both the fimple words 
being effential to the compound. But this is not without excep- 
tion, as fia^cXo'^ai;, c-vx.tipxrnii, ^^H^aretiet., and many Others, evmcc. 
It is indeed very probable, that the import of fuch terms origi- 


nally was what the etymology indicates. But in their applica- 
tion, fuch variations are infenlibly introduced by cuftora, as fome- 
times fix thern at laft in a nneaniug very dilferent fro.n the pri- 
mary fenfe, or that to which the component parts would lead 

I fliall bring for an example a term about which tranflators 
have been very little divided. It is the word (ry.M?^<>y.u^tu. always 
rendered in the common ver(ion hardnefs of heart. Not]:ing 
can be more literal, or, to appearance, more juft. ^xa-^oxx^o,* 
is compounded of a-Kh^ti hard, and ku^Ik*. heart. Nor can it be 
denied that thefe Englilh words, taken leverally, are, in almcfl 
every cafe, exprelli^'e of the full fenfe of the Greek words, alfo 
taken feverally. Yet tbere is realon to fafpect that the Greek 
compound does not anfwer to the meaning conftantly affixed by 
us to hardnefs of hearty or, in one word, hardheartedncfs. Let 
us recur to examples. In Matt. xix. 8. we read thus, "• Mofes, 
*' becaufe of the hardnefs of your hearts^ ^r^oj Tr,v <TK>.tiqtiy.a^ijLt ly.u>¥, 
*' fuffered you to put away your wives." Now thefe terms, 
hardnefs of heart, with us always denote cruelty, inhumanity, 
barbarity. It does not appear that this is our Lord's meaning 
in this paffage. And though the pali'age might be fo paraphra- 
fed, as would give a plaufibility to this intei'pretaiion, 1 do not 
recolleiSl that this vice of cruelty, as a national vice, was ever 
imputed to them by Mofes ; though he often charges them V\'ith 
incredulity, obftinacy, and rebellion. As there is nothing, how- 
ever, in the context, that can be called deciuve, I recur to the 
other paflages in the New Teilament wherein the word is found. 
Thefe are but two, and both of them in Mark's Gofpel. One of 
them is, x. 5. where the fame occurrence is recorded as in the 
paflage of Matthew above referred to. In thefe two parallel 
places, there is fo little variation in the words, that the doubt as 
to the meaning of this term muft equally afFe£l; them both. The 
other paffage is, xvi. 14. in the account given of our Lord's ap- 
pearances to his difciples after his refurre(3;ion. ** Afterwards 
•' he appeared unto the eleven, as they fat at meat, and upbraid- 
** ed them with their unbelief and hardnefs of hearty tvv aTrn-ixf 
*' ecvTMv xxt «rK.Xii^oK.x^i*y^ becaufe they believed not them which 
" had feen him after he was rifen." Nothing can be clearer 
than that the word here has no relation to inhumanity, as this 
great event gave no handle for difplaying either this vice or the 
contrary virtue. Some commentators, after Grotius^ render it 
here incredulity^ making our Saviour exprefs the fame fault by 
both words «;r(s-;« and aKX/ie,oy.ce.^ix. I do not fay that the ufe of 
fuch fynonymas is without example in Scripture ; though I 
would not recur to them where another interpretation were 
eqaally natural, and even more probable. I think, therefore, 
that by the firll of thefe terms the effeft is meant, and by the 



fecond the caufe ; that is, their fliff and untra6lable temper, their 
indocility or perverfenefs. Now this is a fault with which the 
Jews are frequently upbraided by Mofes. Befides, this inter- 
pretation perfectly iuits tlie fenfe of both pafTages. In that firfl 
quoted, as well as in this, the connexion is evident. " Mofes, 
*' becaufe of your untra£labie difpofnion, permitted you to di- 
" vorce your wives ;" left, by making the marriage tie indiflb- 
luble, ye had perverfely renounced marriage altogether, faying, 
as fome of the difciples did, " If the cafe of the man be fo with 
** his wife, it is not good to marry." The fenfe unbeliefs which 
Grotius puts upon it, is rather more forced in that paffage than 
the common acceptation, Caftalio renders it very properly 

If, for further fatisfaflion, I recur to the Septuagint, I find in- 
variably a connection with perverfenefs^ never with inhumanity. 
Where we read in Englifh, Deut. x. 16. '' Circumcife the fore- 
*' fkin of your heart, and be no more ftifF necked," the Seventy 

have it, ntrtTifcetc-h rr.v (r:iXr,^rjxx^eixv vy-ui, kxi tov Tgi«;^^))A«^ vfiuv aa-xX/.^v- 
tHTi tri. Here the oppofnion of the members m the fentence, 
which, in the Oriental tafte, gives the fame command, fir ft in 
the pofitive form, and then in the negative, renders the meaning 
' indubitable. The adjedlive (rxAg«x«§3<flf is ufed in the book of 
Proverbs, xvii. 20. for perverfe or untradlable. 'o o-x/}ig«Jt<«gSiej, 
in Hebrew, ^^ t^pV ghahcfh leb^ a trvyxvjx ctyx^on ; rendered 
juftly in the Vulgate, *' Qui perverfi cordis eft, non inveniet 
*' bonum ;" in Engliih, " He that hath a froward heart, findeth 
*' no good." The.e is another example of this adjeftive in 
Ezek. iii. 7. which appears to me decifive. The verfe runs 
thus in our verfion : " The houfe of Ifrael will not hearken unto 
*' thee ; for they will not hearken unto me, for all the houfe of 
** Ifrael are impudent and hardhearted ;" (piXovaxot uTt x.»i s-xA^ja- 
««A«i. It is plain, from the context, that nothing is advanced 
which can fix on them the charge of inhumanity ; but every 
thing points to their indocile and untraftable temper. In like 
manner, when the verb ^kM^-jvu is foUov/ed by r»» xstpaiuv^ the 
meaning is invariably either to become^ or to render refraBory^ 
rebellious^ not cruel or inhumane. This is evidently the fenfe of 
it as applied to Pharaoh, whole obftinacy the fcvereft judgments 
hardly could furmount. And can any perfon doubt that the 
meaning of the Pfalmift, when he fays, Pfal. xcv. 7, 8. 2o day 
if ye fhall hear his voice, jtm crKM^wnTi ruf xa^iui vfim, is, be not 
contumaciout ox Jliffnecked, as in the provocation ? It is impof- 
lible either to recur to the hiftory referred to. Numb. xiv. 9r to 
the comment on the palTage in the epiftle to the Hebrews, He b, 
iii. and iv. and not perceive this to be a full expreffion of the 
fenfe. Hardhearted.^ therefore, in our language, which ftands 
always in oppolition to tenderhearted or compo^oaate, is not a 



juft tranllation., though, in fome fenfe, it may be called a literal 
ti anflation, of yxXrgoxa^J;^;. 

§ 23. If we enquire a little into the figurative fignlfications 
given to the fimple word kho^^x by the facrei penmen, we (hall 
find their application of the compound to contumacy or iTidocility^ 
as natural as ours is to cruelty and unfeelingnefs. Let it be ob- 
ferved then that, though the Greek word nx^^^ix, when ufed in 
the proper fenfe for the part of the body fo denominated, is equi- 
valent to the Engliih word hearty it is not always fo when ufed 
metaphorically. With us it is made by figure to ftand, fome- 
times for courage, fometimes for afftciion, of which it is conli- 
dered as the feat ; but hardly ever, that 1 remember, for und^r- 
/ianding. To denote this faculty, we fcmetiraes fpeak. of a goad 
or a bad head ; we alio ufe the term brain. This, and not the 
heart, we regard as the feat of intelligence and difcernment. Yet 
this was a frequent ufe of the term heart among the ancients, riot 
the Hebrews only, but even the Greeks and the Romans. K«5^x 
in Greek, even in the bell afe, as well as cor in Latin, are em- 
ployed to denote difcernment and underftanding. Kence, the 
•word cordatus in Latin, for wife, judicious, prudent. 

For the prefent purpofe it fuffices to produce a few inftances 
from Scripture, which will put the matter beyond a doubt. For 
the fake of brevity, I fhall but juft name the things attributed to 
the heart, referring to the palfages in the margin ; that from 
them every perfon may jiidge of the figurative application. Firit, 
then, intelligence is afcribed to it, Matt. xiii. 15. alfo reafoning, 
Mark ii. 6. likewife blindnefs, Mark. iii. 5. &.C.* doubts, Mark 
'xi. 23. faith, Rom. x. 10. thought, Ads viii. 22. comparifon, 
Luke ii. ip. refle,5lion, ibid. ; in ihort, all that we commonly 
confider as belonging to the intelledtual faculty, are applied iu 
Scripture to the heart, a term which, in figurative llvle, is ufed 
with verj^ Z^^"^^- latitude. In this view of the metonymy, 5-kXj;jo- 
x>:«5;«s coiTies naturally to figiiify indocile, untratiahle, of an un- 
derftanding fo hard, that intlruftion cannot penetrate it. Of 
limilar formation is the term thick Jhulled with us. But the 
fenfe is not entirely the fame. This implies mere incapacity, 
that an untoward difpofition. 

§ 24. Here it may not be improper to fuggeft a c?.ution, for 
preventing miftakes, not only in the interpretation of Scripture, 
hat in that of all ancient %vriters. Though a particular word in 
a modern language, may exa£lly correfpoud with a certain word 
in a foreign or a dead language, when both are ufed literally and 
properly, thefe words may be very far from correfponding when 
ufed metaphorically, or when aiFecled by any trope whatever. 

VoL.L R Nor 

* The term is vi^^uTii, 'alloufnefs, reniler?.H bardnefi in tlie commoa 
tratiflation, bat v.hica as often aicans blindriffs, and is fo rendered Rom. 
xi, 2 5. £ph. iv. i3. A Lu'^z htr; more fuKabk to the context* 


Nor does this remark hold in any thing more frequently than in 
that fort of metonymy fo common amongft every people, where- 
by fome parts of the body, efpecially of the entrails, have been 
fubftituted to denote certain powers or affeclions of the mind, 
with which they are fuppofed to be connected. The opinions of 
different nations and different ages, on this article, differ fo widely 
from one another, that the figurative fenfe in one tongue is a very 
unfafe guide to the figurative lenfe in another. In feme inftances 
they feem Cv-en to ftar.d in direct oppofition to each other. The 
fpleen was accounted by the ancient Greeks and Romans the feat 
of mirth and laughter; by us moderns it is held (I fuppofe with 
equal reafon) the feat of ill-humour and melancholy. When, 
therefore, it is evident that the name is, in one of thofe ancient 
languages, ufed not properly, but tropically, what fome would 
call a literal tranflation into a modern tongue, would, in faft, be 
a mifreprefentation of the author, and a grofs perverfion of the 
fenfe *. 

§ 25. I fball add but one other example, of the mifinterpreta- 
tion of a compound word, arifing from the apparent, rather than 
the real, import of its etymology. The word a'^»<»T«5y,? occurs 
twice in the New Teltament. The firil time is on occallon of 
the miraculous cure of the lame man by Paul and Barnabas at 
Lyftra. When the people would have offered facrifice to the 
apoftles, fuppofing them to be two of their gods, Jupiter and 
^lercury, they no fooner heard of their intention, than they rent 
their clothes, and ran in among the people, crying out and fay- 
ing (as in the common tranflation), *' Sirs, why do ye thefe 
things ? we alfo are men of like pajjiom with you^^'' Acts xiv. xy 
o,uei67!-xScii i/fiiy. The other occafion of the words occurring, is 
where the apoftle James faid, as our tranflators render it, " Elia? 
*' was a man fuhjeci to like pajjions as we are^ if^eioTretBtK iiuit, 
*' and he prayed earneftly that it might not rain," James v. 17. 
From which paffages I have heard it gravely inferred, that a fu- 
periority over the pailions is hardly to be expected from the in- 


* I had occafion to confider a little this f-ibje^t in another work, The 
Philofophy of Rhetoric, Book III. Chap. I. Sect. II. fart I. I there took 
notice of a remark of Com'jtus on ibefc words of the firlt fatire oi Perfius : 
'* Sum petulanri fplene cachinno." Which, as it is much to my present 
purpofe. and not long. I ("hall here repeat. " Phyfici dicunt homines fplene 
•' ndere, fclle irafci, jecore amare, cordc fipere, et puimonc jittiri." To 
the ianoe purpofe, I find in a very ancient piece, called the Teltannents of 
the Twelve Patridtchs, fuppofed to be the i^oik of a Chnfti4n of the firft 
century, the fo lo vjng fentiment in the Tcftament of N.iph:ali. introduced 
for the fake cf Huft iting that God mide ail things good, adaptmsr each 
to i's uft. x«p5<*v h; (pga»>)9-«y, iiTX^ ?r{4f ivfui, ;>j6>.fl» w-^aj vik^mv. 
Hi yiX'jtTtt vtXthix, nP^m «; Ttttn^yict*. Grab. Spicil. patruna I. Secul. 
T.I Ed. 2. p. 211. Tnis, though differing a little from the remark made 
by the commentator on Perfiuj, perfe£t!y coincides in what regards the 
keart and lht/j>Uex. 



Ruence even of the mod divine religion, or the mod diftinguifta* 
ing lights of the Spirit ; lince facred writ itfelf feems, in this 
refpeft, to put Jews, Chriftians, and Pagans, nay prophets, apof- 
tles, and idolatrous priefts, and people, all upon a level. 

But this arifes merely from the miilranllation of the word 
iftouTTuBiK, concerning which 1 beg leave to offer the following 
remarks : ift, I remark that it is found only twice in the New 
Teftament, does not occur in the verlion of the Seventy, and but 
once in the Apocryphal writings, where it is applied to the 
earth, Wifd. vii, 3. in which there is nothing analogous to hu- 
man paffions, though there is feme analogy to human lufferings 
and dilTolution ; and that therefore we have no reafon, agreeably 
to an obfervation lately made, § 8. to confider this term as af- 
fefted by the idiom of the fynagogue. adiy, If we recur to 
claflical ufe, we find that it implies no more thSin/eiloiv norto/j 
and has no relation to what, in our language, is peculiarly called 
pajjion : and, 3dly, That v/ith this, the etymology rightly un- 
derilood, perfectly agrees. The primary (ignification of Trx^cf m 
Greek, and of the unclaffic&l x.&vm paj/io in Latin, \% fuffering ; 
the firft from Trxa-y^w, the fecond from pati to fuffer. Thence 
they are adopted to denote calamity, difeafe, and death j thence 
alfo they are taken fometimes to denote thofe affeftions of the 
mind which are in their nature violent, and are confidered as im- 
plying pain and fuffering ; nay, the English word paJJion is in 
this manner applied (but it is in a fort of technical language) to 
the death and fufferings of our Lord. 

Now, as to the term ot.uicvx^Aii in the manner in which it is 
rendered by our interpreters, the argument employed by the 
apoftles to the Lycaonians lofes all its force and fignificance. 
The Pagans never denied that the gods whom they adored were 
beings of like pailions with themfelves 5 nay, they did not fcru- 
ple to attribute the moft difgraccful, and the moft turbulent paf- 
fions to their deities. And as little as any were the two divinities 
exempted whom they fuppofed Paul and Barnabas to be ; but 
then they always attributed to them a total exemption froni mor- 
tality and difeafe. It would have been therefore impertinent to 
fay to idolaters, who miftook them for gods, " We are fubje6l 
to the like paffions with you ;" for this their priefts and poets 
had uniformly taught them both of Jupiter and of Mercury. 
But it was pertinent to fay, *' We are your fellow-mortals," as 
liable as you to difeafe and death. For, if that was the cafe with 
the two apoftles, the people would readily admit, they were not 
the gods they took them for. Indeed this was not only the 
principal, but, I may altnoft fay, the fole diftinftion they made 
between gods and men. As to irregular lufts and paffions, they 
feem even to have afcribed them to the celeftials in a higher de- 
gtee, in proportion, as it v»'ere, to their fuperior power. And, 



in regard to the application to Elijah, in the other pafTisge quo- 
ted, let it not be thought any objedion to the interpretation here 
giv en, that the prophet was tranllated, and did not die ; for all 
that is implied in the apolUe's argument is, that his body was 
naturally mortal and dillolvable as well as ours ; a point which 
was never called in quellion, notwithftanding his miraculous de- 
liverance from death. I thall only add, that the explanation here 
given is entirely conformable to the veruon of thofe palTages in 
the Vulgate, and to that of all the other tranflations, ancient and 
modern, of any name. 

j z6. From all that has been fald on this topic, it is evident 
that, in doubtful cafes, etymology is but a dangerous gviide ; and, 
though always entitled to fome attention, never, unlefs in the 
total failure of all other refources, to be entirely relied in. From 
her tribunal there lies always an appeal to i//e, in c'afes wherein 
ufe can be difcovered, whofe decifion is final, according to the 
obfervation of Horace, 

Quem penes arbitrium eft, ct jus, et norma loquendi. 

I have been the more particular on this head, becaufe etymo- 
logy feems to be a favourite with many modern interpreters, and 
the fource of a great proportion of their criticifms. And indeed 
it mull be owned that, of all the pofilble ways of becoming a 
critic in a dead or a foreign language, etymology is the eafieft. 
A fcanty knowledge of the elements, with the aid of a good lexi- 
con, and a plaufible fluency of expreffion, will be fully fufficient 
for the purpole. I Ihall add a few inltances in this tafte from 
fome modern tranflations of the New Teftament ; though I am 
far from infinuating that the above mentioned qualifications for 
criticifing, were all that the authors were poiTefied of. Some of 
them, on the contrary, have, in other inflances, difplayed critical 
abilities very refpedabk. But where is the man who, on every 
occafion, is equal to himfelf ? The word iTTXcy^ncr^yi^ Matt. ix. 
36. is rendered, by the Gentlemen of Port Royal, Ses entrailles 
furent etnues de compajfion^ on which Wynne feems to have im- 
proved in faying. His bowels yearned with compajjion. EuSe*J^9■«!^ 
Rom. XV. 26, 27. is rendered by the forrner, out refolu aver, beau- 
coup d'affeSiion. Aeho-*? £VEgyK|(*ev)), James v. 16. i» tranflated by 
Doddridge, Prayer wrought by the energy of the Spirit. Xictivaxret 
Rev. vii. 15. by Diodati, Tender a un pad'ighone . X^-t^ore-^xiruyriif 
Adls xiv. 23. by Beza, cufn ipfi per fuffragia creajfent^ and xXn 
^o^»f^^ne-iy Matt. V. 5. hareditario jure ohiinehunt. The Vul- 
gate too, fometimes without necefTity, but more rarely, adopts 
the fame paraphraftical method. For thofe examples above re- 
ferred to, which occur in the Gofpel, fee the notes on the 





X llE religious indimtion of which the Lord Jefus is the author, 
is diilinguithed in the New Teilament by particular names and 
phraies, with the true import of which ir is of great conCequenee 
that we be acquainted, in order to form a diitiiift appr-ehfniiort 
of the nature and end of the whole. A very fHyali deviation 
here may lead fome into grofs mirtakes, and conceal from others, 
in a coniiderable degree, the fpirit which this inftitutioii breatheo, 
and the difcoveries which it brings, I think, it neeellary, there- 
fore, to examine this fubjecl a little, in order to lay before the 
critical, the judicious and the candid, my reafons for leaving, ia 
fome particulars which at firil may appear of little moment, the 
beaten track of interpreters, and giving, it may be faid, new- 
names to known things, where there cannot be any material dif- 
ference of meaning. The affe^lation of rejecling a word, beeaufe 
old, if neither obfcure nor obiolete, and of preferring another, 
beeaufe new, if it be not more appofite or expreffive, is juilly 
held contemptible ; but, without doubt, it weuid be an extreme 
on the other iide, not lefs hurtful, to pay a greater veneratron to 
names, (that is, to mere founds), than to the things fignified by 
them. And furely a tranflator is juftly chargeable with this 
fault, who in any degree facrifices propriety and that perfpicuity 
which, in a great meafure, flows from it, to a fcrupulous (not to 
fay luperititious) attachment to terms, which, as the phrafe is, 
have been confecrated by long ufc. But of this 1 Ihall have oc- 
cafion to fpeak more afterwards. 

The moll common appellation given to this inilitution, or reli- 
gious difpenfation, in the New Teftament, is, i Bx<rt?.u!i ns Bus, or 
rut v^eirejf i and the title given to the manifeilatioii of this new 
Hate, is moil frequently to u/oey/i>.t6> rr,? 'Eot^i'Kuci.q^ &c. and fome- 
times, when conlidered under an afpecl fomewhat diffeTent, 
« n^n htidrjt,rt. The great Perfcnage himfelf, to wbofe admbi- 

ft ration 


flration the whole is entrufted, is, in contra-diftinftion to all others, 
denominated « %jis-«;. I fliall, in this difcourfe, make a few ob- 
Cervations on each of the terms above mentioned. 


Of the Phrafe i, BariAux m ^cv, or tuh »g*p«v. 

Xn the phrafe ^ BxtiXhcc th Bm, or ra* a^xiuv, there is a manifeft 
allufton to the predictions in which this economy was revealed 
by the prophets in the Old Tellamenl, particularly by the pro- 
phet Daniel, who mentions it in one place, ch. ii. 44. as ct king^ 
dom, Ba7iXc««, iL-hich the Gcd of heaven would fet up^ and which 
fJiould never be dejlroyed ; in another, ch. vii. 13,14. as a king- 
dom to be given, with glory and dominion over ail people, na- 
tions and languages, to one like a fon of man. And the pro- 
phet Micah, ch. iv. 6, 7. fpealiing of the fame era, reprefents it 
as a time when Jehovah, having removed all the afflictions of his 
people, would reign over them in Mount Sion thenceforth even 
for ever. To the fame purpofe, though not io explicit, are the 
declarations of other prophets. To thefe predidions there is a 
manifeft reference in the title, '^ ^xjiX-ix tv Qek, or rav a^sc^**, or 
fimply, i, ficcTiXiix, given in the New Teilament, to the religious 
conflitution which would obtain under the Meffiah. It occurs 
very often, and is, if I miftake not, uniformly in the common 
trauflation, rendered kir.gdofn. 

§ a. That the import of the term is always either kiugdom^ or 
fomething nearly related to kingdom, is beyond all queftion ; but 
it is no lefs fo, that, if regard be had to the propriety of our own 
idiom, and confequently to the perfpicuity of the verlion, the 
EngliQi word will not anfwer on every occafion. In moft cafts 
^ss9-<A«x anfwers to the Latin regnum. But tois word is cf more 
extenfive meaning than the Englilh, being equally adapted to ex- 
prefs both onr terms reign and kingdom. The firll relates to the 
time or duration of ihe f&vereignty ; the fecond, to the place or 
country over which it extends. Now, though it is manii'elt in 
the gofpels, that it is much oftener the time than the place that is 
alluded to ; it is never, in the common verfion tranflated reign^ 
but always kingdom. Yet the exprefiion is often thereby ren- 
dered exceedingly awkward, not to fay abfurd. Ufe indeed foftens 
every thing. Hence it is that, in reading our Bible, we are in- 
fenfible of thofe improprieties which, in any other book, would 
ftrike us at firft hearing. Such are ihcfe expreflions which ap- 
ply motion to a kingdom, as when mention is made of its comings 



approaching, and the like ; but 1 {hould not think It worth while 
to contend for the obfervance of a fcrupulous propriety, if the 
violation of it did not afFe^l the fenfe, and lead the reader into 
millakes. Now this is, in feveral inftances, the cerrain confe- 
quence of improperly rendering fixa-iXucc kingdom. 

§ 3. When 0cc7tMta means reign, and is followed by rmr «^**»r, 
the tranilatlon kingdom of heaven evidently tends to millead th<i 
reader. Heaven, tl)us confirued with kingdom, ought, in our 
language, by the rules of grammatical propriety, to denote the 
region under the kingly government fpoken of. But finding, as 
we advance, that this called the kingdom of heaven is aftually 
upon the earth, or, as it were, travelling to the earth, and almoft 
arrived, there necelTarily arifes fuch a confufioa of ideas as clouds 
the text, and by conleqaence weakens the impreffion it would 
otherwife make upon our minds. Jt may be laid indeed, that 
the import of fuch exprefiions in Scripture is now fo well known, 
that they can hardly be miftaken. But I am far from thinking 
that this is the cafe. Were it faid only that they are become ff» 
familiar to us that, without ever reflecting on the matter, ws 
take it for granted that vet underftand them ; there is no fenti- 
ment to the juflnefs of which I can more readily fubfcribe. But 
then the familiarity, inftead of anfwering a good, anfwers a bad 
purpofe, as it ferves to conceal our ignorance, even from ourfelves. 
It is not therefore the being accuftomed to hear fuch phrafes, that 
will make them be univerfally, or even generally, apprehended 
by the people. And to thofe who may have heard of the expo- 
fition commonly given of them, the conception of the kingdom 
of heaven, as denoting a fort of dominion upon the earth, a con- 
ception which the mind attains indirei^ly, by the help of a com- 
ment, is always feebler than that which is conveyed direftly by 
the native energy of the expreflion. Not but that the words 
^xTiXux TMt H^ccniiv are often rightly tranflated kingdom of heaven^ 
being often manifetlly applied to the Itate of perfect felicity to 
be enjoyed in the world to come. But it is equally evident that 
this is not always the meaning of the phrafe. 

§ 4. There are two fenfes wherein the word heaven in this ex- 
preflion maybe underftood. Either it fignifies the place fo call- 
ed, or it is a metonymy for God, who is in Scripture fome- 
times by periphrafis denominated. He that diuelleth in hen. 
ven. When the former is the fenfe of the term h^xhoi, the phrafe 
is properly rendered the kingdom of heaven ; when the latter, 
the reign of heaven. Let it be remarked in pafling, in regard to 
the fenfe laft given of the word y.^xtai as fignifying GoJ, that we 
are fully authorized to affirm it to be Scriptural. I (hould 
have hardly thought it neceflary to make this remaak, if I 
had not occafionally obferved fuch phrafes as the affiflance of 
keave/tj and addnjfis to beavtn, criticifed and cenfured in feme 



late performances, as favouring more of the Pagan or the 
Chinefe phrafeology, than of the Chriftian. That they are 
perfeftly conformable to the latter, raull be clear to every 
one who reads his Bible with attention. Daniel, in the inter- 
pretation of Nebuchadnezzar's dream, fays, chap. iv. 26. Thy 
i'tngdom Jhull be Jure unto tbee, after thnt thoujkalt have known 
that the Heavens do rule. The prophet had faid in the preced- 
ing verfe, Seven times Jhall pa fs over thee, till thou know that the 
Pvloft High ruleth in the kingdom of men. Thus he who is de- 
nominated the Mofl High in one verfe, is termed the Heavens in 
the following. The Pfalinift Afaph fays of profligates, Pfal. 
Ixxiii. 9. They fet their tnouth againft the Heavens ; that is, they 
vent hlofphemies againft God The phrafe in the New Tefta- 
ment ^ fixTiX'-'.ci t®» »g«r«v, is almofl as common as ij fixTtXnx m ©sv. 
And though it may be afhrmpd that the regimen in the one ex- 
prefTes the proprietor of the kingdom, in the other the place ; it is 
evident that this does not hold always. In parallel paflages in 
the diflferent Gofpels, where the fame fa61s are recorded, one of 
thefe exprcfTions is ufed by one Evangelift, and the other as 
equivalent by another. Nay, the phrafe » SxriXnec -rm \i^!v, is 
adopted v.'hen it is manifeft that the place of dominion fuggefted 
is earth, rot heaven ; and that therefore the term can be under- 
flood only as a fynonyma for ^sej. The prodigal fays to his fa- 
ther, Luke, XV. 18. 21. father., 1 have finned againft Heaven 
and before thee ; that is, against God and thee. Otherwife, to 
fpeak of finning againft; an inanimate objeft, would be exceeding- 
ly unfuitable both to the Chriftian theology and to the Jewilh. 
The baptfm of fohny fays our Lord, Matt. xxi. 25. whence was 
it ? from Heaven, or of men ? From Heaven, that is, from God. 
Divine authority is here oppofed to human. This difference, 
however, in the fenfe of k^^v*?, makes no difference to a tranfla- 
tor, inafmuch as the vernacular term with us admits the fame la- 
titude with the Hebrew and the Greek. 

\ 5. That ^ctTtXitct ought fomerimes to be rendered reign, and 
not kingdom, I ftiall further evince when I illuftrate the import 
of the words x^va-gra, iva.yyO,!Z,0, and fome others. Ifaiah, Da- 
niel, Mic^h, and others of the Prophets, had encouraged the peo- 
ple to expe6l a time, when the Lord of hofts fhonld reign in 
Mount Zion and in Jerufalem, when the people of God (hould 
be redeemed from their enemies, and made joyful in the Mefliah 
their King, It was this happy epoch which was generally un- 
'derftood to be denominated by the phrafes /3(«t<^s(« ts ©£», and 
fix7t>u» Tuv v^uv'jv, the reign of God, and the reign^ of Heaven : 
the approach of which was firft announced by the Baptift;, after- 
wards by our Lord himfelf and his Apoltles. BuTiXuct is applica- 
ble in both acceptations, and it needs only be obferved that, 
•when it refers to the time, it ought to be rendered reign, when tQ 



the place, kingdom. For this reafon, when it is conftrued with 
the verb KriP«-ra, tvxyyi^i^M, K»Tttyyt>^X«>, Of the noun tvayycA/ey, It 
ought invariably to be reign, as alfo when it is fpoken of as come, 
coming, or approaching. 

§ 6. The French have two words correfponding to ours, regne, 
reign, and royaume, kingdom. Their interpreters have often 
fallen into the fame fault with ours, fubftituting the latter word 
for the former; yef, in no French tranflation that I have feen, is 
this done fo uniformly as in ours. In the Lord's prayer, fot 
example, they all fay, ton regne vienne, not ton royaume^ thy 
reign come, aot thy kingdom. On the other hand, when men- 
tion is made of entrance or admiffion into rhe jiA^iXux, or exclu- 
fion from it, or where there is a manifeft reference to the (late of 
the bleffed hereafter ; in all thefe cafes, and perhaps a few others, 
wherein the fenfe may eafily be colledled from the context, it 
ought to be rendered kingdom, and not reign. 

§ 7. There are a few paffages, it muft be acknowledged, in 
which neither of the Englilh words can be conlidered as a tranf- 
lation of jixa-iMix ftridly proper. In fome of the parables, (Mat. 
xviii. 23.) it evidently means adminiftration, or method of go- 
verning ; and in one of thecn, (Luke xix. 12. 15.) the word de- 
notes royalty or royal authority, there being a manifeft allufion 
to what had been done by Herod the Great, and his immediate 
fucceffor, in recurring to the Roman fenate, in order to be invert- 
ed with the title and dignity of King of Judea, then dependent 
upon Rome. But where there is a proper attention to the fcope 
of the place, one will be at no lofs to difcov6r the import of the 

PART 11. 

0/ the Name to EwayyeAwy. 

1 PROCEED to enquire into the meaning of the word to iv*yytXity. 
This term, agreeably to its etymology, from %v bene and ttyyihi* 
nuncium, always in claffical ufe, where it occurs but rarely, de- 
notes either good news, or the reward given to the bearer of good 
news. Let us fee what ought to be accounted the Scriptural ufe 
of the term. EvxyyiXny and tvxyytXta. occur fix times in the Sep- 
tuagint in the Books of Samuel and Kings. I reckon them as 
one word, becaufe they are of the fame origin, are ufed indifcri- 
minately, and always fupply the place of the fame Hebrew word 
mtJ^D bejharab. In five of thefe, the meaning is good news ; 
VoL.L S i 


in the fixth, the word denotes the reward given for bringing good 
news. In like manner, the verb ivcty-^ihi^ui, or £u«yyEA«(^€.-^*<, 
which occurs much oftener in the Septuagint than the noun, is 
always the verfion of the Hebrew verb ISi^^ hajhar^ lata an- 
nunciare, to tell good news. It ought to be remarked alfo, that 
ivxyyi>,i^u is the only word by which the Hebrew verb is render- 
ed into Greek ; nor do I know any word in the Greek language 
that is more llriclly of one fignitication than this verb. In one 
inftance, the verbal "IJi^I^D mebajfjer^ is indeed ufed for one who 
brings tidings, though not good, i Sam. iv. 17. but in that place 
the Seventy have not employed the verb ;v«7yjA*(^<y, or any of its 
derivatives. One palTage, (2 Sam. i. 20.) wherein the Septua- 
gint ufes the verb ivxy^/iXiZouxt, has alfo been alleged as an excep- 
tion from the common acceptation. But that this is improperly 
called an exception, muft be manifeft to every one who refiefts 
that the total defeat of the Ifraelitifh army, with the {laughter of 
the king of Krael and his fons, mull have been the moll joyful 
tidings that could have been related in Gath and Alkelon, two 
Phililline cities. The word occurs feveral times in the prophets, 
particularly in Ifaiah, and is always rendered in the common ver- 
fion, either by the phrafe to bring good tidings^ or by fome terms 
nearly equivalent. It is fometimes alfo fo rendered in the New 
Tellament, Lukei. 19. ii. ig. viii.i. Adsxiii. 32. Rom.x.15. 
1 Their, iii. 6. 

f 2. Now let it be obferved that, when the word is introduced 
in the gofpels, it is generally either in a quotation from the pro- 
phets, or in evident allufion to their words. Thus -Trtuy^n ivayyi- 
Xi^ovTcti, which our tranflators render, To the poor the go/pei is 
preached. Matt. xi. 5. Luke vii. 22. the whole context ihews to 
be in allufion to what is faid by the prophet Ifaiah, chap. Ixi. i. 
in whom the correfponding phrafe is rendered, preach good tidings 
to the meeh. But nothing can be more to my purpofe, than that 
noted paffage where we are told, Luke iv. i8, 19. that the place 
in Ifaiah was read by our Lord in the fynagogue of Nazareth. 
The words in the common trauflation of the Gofpel are thefe. 
The Spirit of the Lord is upon r/ie, hecaufe he hath anointed me to 
preach the gofpel, ivxyytXt^ia-But, to the poor ; he hath fent me to 
heal the broken hearted, to preach deliverance to the c-aptives^ a/id 
recovering of fight to the blind, to fet at liberty them that are 
bruifed, to preach the acceptable year of the Lord. Now I can- 
not help obferving of this palTage, that the meaning would have 
been more perfpicuoully conveyed, and its beauty and energy 
would have been better preferved, if our tranflators had kept 
ciofer to the manner in which they had rendered it in the Old 
Tellament. There the term ivxyyiT^i^iar^at is rendered, to preach 
good tidings. And though it is certam, agreeably to our Lord's 
declaration, that the gofpel, v.'ith its fpiritual bleflings, are here 



held forth to us, it is flill under the figure of temporal bleffings, 
and therefore it is very improperly introduced by its diftinguifh- 
ing appellation into the verfion, which ought to convey the lite- 
ral, not the figurative fenfe of the original. 

'EvxyyiXi(^iiT^xi TFTcoyjii;, to bring good tidiTigs to the poor or afHi(5l- 
ed, agreeably to the extenlive lignification of the Hebrew \vord, 
is the general title of the meffage, and comprehends the whole. 
It is explained by being branched out into the particulars which 
immediately follow. For, if it be allied, What is the good ti- 
dings brought to the affiided ? the anfwer is, a cure to the bro- 
ken-hearted, deliverance to the captives, fight to the blind. It is 
the Lord's jubilee which brings freedom to the flave, acquittance 
to the debtor, and relief to the oppreiTed. Now that the gofpel 
is herein admirably delineated, is manifefl. But iiiil it is pre- 
fented to us under figures, and therefore to mention it by its pe- 
culiar title in the midil of the figurative defcription, is to efface, in 
a great meafure, that defcription ; it is to jumble injudicioully the 
fign and the thing fignified. It is, as if one lliould confound in an 
apologue or parable, the literal fenfe with the moral, and afiferc 
of the one what is ftriftly true only of the other ; by which 
means no diftinft image would be prefented to the mind. Or it 
is, as when a painter fupplies the defefts in his work by labels, 
and, icllead of a picture, prefents us with a confufed jumble, 
■wherein fome things are painted, and fome things defcribed in 
•words. But it is not in our verfion only, but in moil modem 
tranflations, that this confulion in rendering this beautiful paffage 
has appeared. 

§3.1 Ihall add but one other inflance of a quotation from the 

prophets C ilj aextoi a* TTo^ej ruv tvaCY'/iXi^iUivuv u^y,vr,y, toiv fjot'/yiXi!^oui- 

vvt Tx ccyxBx, Rom. X. 15. In the common verfion, as quoted iu 
the New Teftament, How beautiful are the feet of them that 
preach the gofpel of peace ^ and bring glad tidings of good things. 
It would have been better here alfo, on many accounts, to keep 
clofer to the original in Ifaiah, ch. Hi. 7. whence the palTage was 
taken, and to tranflate it thus : " How beautiful are the feet of 
" them who bring the joyful mefiage of peace, the joyful news 
'* of good things ;" at the fame time, we acknowledge it is with 
a particular allufion to that fpiritual peace, and thofe eternal good 
things, procured to us by Jefus Chrift. But the beauty and 
energy of the allufion and implied fimilitude are deflroyed, or ra- 
ther, there is no more allufion or fimilitude in the words, when 
the characleriilic defcription intended by the prophet is in a man- 
ner thrown afide, and in its flead is inferted the name appropria- 
ted to the difpenfation. This at leaft is in part done ; for the 
prophet's figures are neither totally laid afide, nor totally retain- 
ed. Inflead of imitating his fimplicity of manner, they have 
piade a jumble of the fenfe implied, and the fenfe expreiTed. 



For this purpofe they have rendered the fame wt)rd (which is 
repeated in the two claufes) in one claufe, preach the go/pel^ ac- 
cording to the fenfe juftly fuppofed to be figured by it ; in the 
other claufe, bring glad tidings^ according to the letter. I can 
fee no reafon for this want of uniformity, unlefs perhaps the no- 
tion that the go/pel of good things founded more awkwardly than 
the go/pel of ppace. 

§ 4, The prophet's defign undoubtedly was, to deliver it as an 
univerfal truth amply confirmed by experience, that the meffage of 
peace and profperity to thofe who had been opprefitd and afflid- 
ed by the ravages of war, and its various unhappy confequences, 
was fo charming, that it could transform a molt dilagreeable into 
a pleafing objett. The feet of thofe who had travelled far in a 
hot country, through rough and dufly roads, prefent a fpeftacle 
naturally nffenfive to the beholder ; neverthelefs, the confidera- 
tion that the perfons themfelves are to us the meffengers of peace 
and felicity ; and that it is in bringing this welcome tidings they 
have contrafted that fordid appearance, can in an inftant convert 
deformity into beauty, and make us behold with delight this in- 
dication of their embafiy^ their dirty feet, as being the natural 
confequence of the long journey they have made. A thought 
fomewhat fimilar occurs in Horace, (Lib. ii. Odei.) who, fpeak- 
ing of viftors returning with glory from a well- fought field, ex- 
hibits them as — Nan indecoro pulvere fordidos. The poet per- 
ceives a charm, fomething decorous, in the very duft and fweat, 
with ivhich the warriors are fmeared, and which ferve to recal 
to the mind of the fpeftator, the glorious toils of the day ; thus, 
things in themfelves ugly and difgufting, (bare, when afTociated 
in the mind with things delightful, in the beauty and attradions 
of thofe tl'.iigs with which they are connefted But this fenti- 
tnent is lofl; in the common verfion ; for it might puzzle the 
moft fagacious reader to devife a reafon why the feet in par- 
ticular of the Chriftian preacher Ihould be declared to excel in 

§ 5. Now, in all the pafiages quoted from the prophets, it ap- 
pears fo natural, and fo proper every way, to give them in the 
words which had been ufed in tranflating the prophecies, when 
the words in the New Teftament will bear the fame verfion, that 
one is at a lofs to conceive what could move the tranflators tp 
depart from this rule. Ought they, where no ground is giveh 
for it in the original, either to make the facred penmen appear 
to have mifquoted the prophets, or to make the unlearned reader 
imagine, that the Scriptures ufed by them differed from thofe 
ufed by us, where there is not in fa6l any difference ? Let it be 
obferved that I fay, when the words in the New Teftament will 
bear the fame verfion with thofe in the Old ; for I am not for 
carrying this point fo fax as fome tranflators have done, who-, 



when there is a real difference in the import of the expreffiotis, 
are for correfting one of the facred writers by the other. This 
is not the part of a faithful tranfiaror, who ought candidly to re- 
prefent what his author fays, and leave it to the judicious critic 
to account for fuch differences as he beft can. But it is furely a 
mere inexcufeable error to make differences where there are 
none, than to atrempt to cover them where there are. Now, as 
it was never pretended that, in the paffages above quoted, the 
Hebrew word was not juftly tranfiated by the Seventy, and that 
the fenfe of both was not julUy expreffed by the phrafe which 
our tranilators had employed in the verfion of the prophets, they 
had no reafon for adopting a different, though it were a fynony- 
mous phrafe, in rendering the paffage when quoted in the New, 
What fball we fay then of their employing an expreffion which 
conveys a very different meaning ? 

§ 6. I fhall produce one example, which, though no quota- 
tion, yet, having a direcl reference to a promife ofcen mentioned 
in the Old Tellament, and made originally to the patriarchs, 
ought to have been interpreted in the moft comprehenfive way. 
Our tranflators, by not attending to this, have rendered a paffage 
otherwife perfpicuous perfe^ly unintelligible. Kxi ycco is-ftzt svr.y- 
fiXiTUitoi, xx^xTTi^ KXK.HW i iu thc common verfion, For unto us was 
the gofpel preached as well as itnto tham^ Heb. iv. 2. He had. 
been fpeaking of the Ifraelites under Mofes in the wildernefs. 
This founds ftrangely in Chriitian ears. That the gofpel has 
been preached to us, needs no affirmation to convince as : our 
only difficulty is, to underftand in what fenfe the gofpel, or reli- 
gious inftitution of Jefus Chrift, was preached to thofe who 
lived and died before his incarnation. Yet it feems here to be 
fuppofed that we all know that the gofpel v.-as preached to 
them, but need to be informed that it has ever been preached to 
ourfeives. Had it been laid. For vnto them was the gofpel 
preached as well as unto z.v, we fhould have difcovered a mear- 
ing in the fentence, though we Tpii',ht have been at a lofs to con- 
ceive in what refpetl it is defen'ible. But as it ftands, we are 
no lefs puzzled about the meaning, than about the truth of the 
obiervation. Now, the literal and proper tranflition of the word 
ivxy^iXt^ouxi, in an inflant removes every dUBcuIty. For unfo us 
the good tidings are publijhed which were puhlljhed to them. What 
thefe good tidings are, is. evident from the context. It is the 
promife of reft to God's people. It had been (hewn by the 
apoftle, in the preceding chapter, that the promife hrll made to 
the patriarchs was not, if I may fo exprefs myfelf, exhaulled by 
the admiffioa of the Ifraelites into the land of Canaan ; that, on 
the contrary, we learn, from a threat in the Pfalms againll the 
rebellious, that there was ftill a nobler country and fupericr hap- 
pinefs men had to look, for, of which the earthly Canaan was 



but a figure ; that therefore we ou^ht to take warning, from the 
example of thofe vvhofe carcafes fell in the vvildemefs, to beware 
left we alfo forfeit, through unbelief, that glorious inheritance, 
the reft that yet remains for the people of God. Now, as the 
promifes conveying the good news ot reft, were originally made 
to the fathers, and to Ifrael, according lo the flefli, it was perti- 
nent to take notice that we are equally interefted in them, and 
that this good news of reft in a happy country afterwards to be 
enjoyed, is declared to us as fully as ever it was to them. This 
feufe, though clearly the apoftle's, is totally effaced by the mif- 
iiittrprctation of the word iv/i'^,{->.'.<rfiisici. The Vulgate has, in 
this place, kept clear of the glaring impropriety in the Englifti 
verfion. It has fimply, " Etenim et nobis nuntiatum eft quem- 
admodum et illis." Their common way, however, is different. 

§ 7. In other places, moft modern tranflators have been mif- 
led, in this article, by implicitly following the Vulgate, which 
firft fet the bad example of tranilating thofe paflages differently 
in the Old Teftament and in the New. In the paftage quoted 
from Paul, and by him from Ifaiah, Erafmus has very well pre- 
ferved both the import of the word, and the conformity to the 
way in which it had been always juTlly rendered in the prophet. 
*' Quam fpeciofi pedes annuntiantium pacem, annuntiantium 
'^' bona !" To the fame purpofe Caftalio, who has taken this 
way, which Erafmus had not done, of rendering alfo the words 
read by our Lord in the fynagogue, '* Me ad laeta pauperibus 
*' nuntianda mifit." In the other places above referred to, Caf- 
talio follows the common method. " Pauperes evangelium do- 
" centur." Erafmus, in rendering the paflage quoted from 
Matthew, has endeavoured to comprehend both ways. *' Pau- 
** pores laetum accipiunt evangelii nuntium." He has in this 
been copied by the tranflation of Zuric. This method is quite 
paiaphraftical. It does not favour of the fimplicity of the evan- 
gelical ftyle. If ivoiy[iXi6v mean latum nuntium^ why did he add 
evangelii ? And if it do not mean Icetum nuntium^ what had thefe 
words to do in the verfion ? And if the Latin evangelium is of the 
fame import with the Greek suayfafo?, the fentence is a mere 
tautology; as if he fhould fay, Ihe poor receive the good news 
of glad tidings. And if the intport of the adoptive Latin word 
evangelium^ which is in faft the cafe, be different from that of 
the Greek, which is fully interpreted by the two words Icetum 
pundum, evangelii is a mere interpolation. The words of the 
original are general, and have equal latitude of fignification with 
the Latin lirtum nuntium^ or the Englifti good news. The addi- 
tion of the word evangelii limits the fenfe, in a way which the 
Prophet's expreffion does not warrant. Nor does an interpreter's 
opinion concerning the completion of the prophecy (however 
true, uav, however certain, that opinion be) entitle him to ex^ 



prefs the predl£llon with greater fpeciality of meaning than has 
been done by his author. Erafn^us does not feem himfelf to 
have been entirely fatisficd with this circumlocution, as he has 
rendered the fame words in Luke in the common way, and in 
this alfo has been followed by the Tigurine tranflator. Beza 
has in all the palTages above referred to, (except that in which 
the Vulgate was right) followed the Vulgate, and has been fol- 
lowed by moll of the early Proteftant tranilators. 

§ 8. Some may imagine, that I am here pleading for what, on 
other occafions, I have Ihown no partiality to, a tranflation of the 
words fervilely literal or etymological. But, let it be obferved, 
that I am never for tracing, in the tranflation, the etyniology of 
the words of the original, when the etymology does not givt the 
juft import of the words, according to the received uie at the 
time v/hen the fpeeches or dialogues related were fpoken, or 
when the book was compofed. The Greek verb £uavfc?.(^.s*, when 
firft ufed by the evangeliifs, or the Hebrew lli'H bajhar, when 
ufed by the prophets, or the Syriac "^TlZD fi^bar^ as molt proba- 
bly ufed by our Lord and his apollles, conveyed to their country- 
men only one and the fame idea, which is prccucly what the 
phrafe to bring good tidings conveys to us. The appropriation 
of the word to the religious inftiiution called the Gofpel, is of a 
later date, and has gradually arifen out of the former ufage. 
When etymology and ufe perfeclly coincide, as they often do, 
we cannot be too literal in our interpretations ; when they differ, 
which does not feldora happen, the latter is to be followed, and 
not the former. 

In fome refpecls fimilar, though apparently contrary, to the 
above objedioa, is that of thofe who i:rge that our term gofpel^ 
in its Saxon etymology is an exail counterpart to the Greek 
£vir,vf=A(«», being compounded of two words, which conjoined die." 
note good news. But the only pertinent quellion is, in this cafe. 
Is this the prefent meaning of the Englilh word ^q//>^/.^ The 
firft objeftors would affign to the Greek word ivxy'^iXtof, a fenfe 
which it had not during our Lord's miniilry, but which it acqui- 
red foon after ; the fecond would put upon the Englilli word 
gofpel, a fenfe which it once had, but now has not. Ihat this 
is the cafe is evident. 

Should one, for example, bring us word* that an end is put m 
hoftilities, and that the powers at war have at laft agreed upon a 
peace, ought we, in reporting this intelligence, to fay, that one 
had come preaching to us the gofpel of peace ? Whoever fhould 
exprefs himfelf thus, would, I am afraid, be thouglit to talk 
both abfurdly and profanely. At lead he would be faid to em- 
ploy a very bold and far-fetched metaphor. Yet not the meta- 
phorical, but the proper expreffion, in the language of the apof- 

* This n'as wrirtr-n ♦o'*-3rd3 the rnd of the American war. 


ties, would be, iw/ti>''rctrt if^it w^umf, or even txri^-AyiY »^ii r« ty«y- 
[iXicf Tvjs H^vK- Jofephus, in his Hiftcrj of the Jewilh War, 
lib. iii. ch. 34. acquainting us that Titus fent to his father the 
good news of his taking Tarichea, fays, Tith h ix-rtfi-^^? nvx ra$ 
hrx-iat iVxy^iX:!^iTeCi tu ■;7xr^i to E^yey. How would it found in our 
cars to render it, preached to his father the go/pel of the a6iion f 
Nothing can be a ftronger evidence that the Greek phrafes above 
meiitioned, and the Englifh preached the go/pel^ are not eouiva- 
lent. All, therefore, that can be concluded from the primitive 
import of the word gofpel, in a different, though related, lan- 
guage, is that, in the Anglo-Saxon, not the Engiiih, verfion of 
the New Tellament, the word ey^yfjAiay was rigbtlj fo tranflatcd. 
Certain it is, however, that the error remarked in the Englilh 
verfion, runs through all the modern tranflations, as well as the 
Vulgate which gave it birth, and is a remarkable inftance of the 
truth of an obfervation formerly made, (^Diil iii. § 6.) that 
fometimes, by confulting other verficns, we may be confirmed in 
an error, inltead of having it corrected. Indeed the old Latin 
tranflation has ferved in many things, as will appear more fully 
afterwards, as a model to the tranllators in the Weft. 

§ 9. But, though the noun £u«yfe>,(«ir was equally unequivocal 
with the verb tuc«yfs/i^(i,', in its acceptation in the Old Tellament, 
and commonly in the Evangelifts, it muif be owned that, from 
its original fignificaiion, it came infenfibly afterv.'ards to vary 
and receive other meanings, ia the way I ihall now attempt to 
explain. The word occurs very often in the New Teftament, 
where, as it is a term of principal importance, its different Ggni- 
fications deftrve to be inveiUgated with the greateft accuracy. 
That the radical fignification, good news^ is not only the moll 
common, but, in fome refpect, a concomitant of every other 
meaning affixed to the word, muft be evident to every one who 
is converfant with the original. Yet this allufive concomitance, 
if I may fo exprefs myfelf, is an advantage which cannot be ob- 
tained in a tranilation. As ufe, which governs language, wdl not 
bend to our inclinations, we muil change the word in th? verfion, 
when the import of the original name is fo far different, that the 
fame terra, in another language, will not anfwer j yet, by chang- 
ing it, we may lofe the emphafis, which refults from the ailufion 
to the primitive and predominant applicaiicn of the word. It 
will fometimes happen, in a train of reafcning, where the fame 
word is ufed in the original in different, but related fenfes, that 
the change of the correfponding term in the verfion will hurt 
perfpicuity, and yet may be neceliTiry, becaufe the fame word in 
another language, whofe idiom does not admit the fame extent 
of fignification, would hurt it more. 

§ 10. The firll meaning of the word then in the New Tella- 
ment, efpecialiy in the Gofpels, is, as has been obferved, good 

m wtf 


newf, a fignlfication which, though always implied, is not always 
what is chiefly intended ; and therefore the word cannot, without 
k facrifice of propriety, be uniformly rendered fo. The name, 
from being expreffive of an eminent quality in the difpenfatioa 
introduced by the Meffiah, and from being moft frequently ap- 
plied to it, came gradually to ferve as a name for the difpenfatioa 
itfelf. When it is thus employed, it is in our tongue properly 
tendered gofpel. This is the fecond meaning of the word. Of 
the other fenfes which it has in Scripture, I ihall take notice af- 
terwards. The two above mentioned are the chief. And, firft, 
1 fhall confider the cafes wherein that which I call the literal and 
primitive fignification ought to be retained. 

§ It. Firlt, then, this fenfe ought to be retained in the verfion, 
*i^hen the word iv^-yfeAiev is conflrued with a noun ferving to limit 
or explain its nature, as to i-jAy{iktt>i rti? wgjji'j??, ibe good news of 
peace, to ev«syfiA<»» tw ^x<r>XHstii the good news of the reign. It was 
obferved, on the explanation of the word /Sac-jXe**, that the Chri- 
ilian economy was foretold under the denomination of the reign 
of God, and the reign of Heaven ; and I may add, in the typical 
language of the Pfalms, the reign of David. Now there were, 
about the time of our Saviour's appearance, many who, from the 
predictions of the prophets and figns of the times, waited, with 
pious confidence, for the confolatioa of Ifrael, that is, for the 
coming of the Lord's MeiSah, and the commencement of his 
glorious reign. This was the great fubjed of comfort to them, 
amidft all the diftrelTes and oppreffions, perfonal or political, un- 
der which they groaned. For how erroneous foever the preva- 
lent notions concerning the perfon of the Meffiah, and the nature 
of his reign were, they agreed in this, that they exhibited him 
as a deliverer, in whofe time the principal grievances of the na- 
tion were to be redreffed ; and, in confequence of this, the people 
looked forwards with faith and hope, but not without a mixture 
of impatience, to that long-deferred, as they then thought, but 
happy era, the miflion and confequent reign of the MefTiah. 
Freedom to the flave, releafe to the prifoner, pardon to the con- 
vi6t, could not be more welcome, or afford matter of greater joy, 
than the tidings, well authenticated, that that bleffed period, fpo- 
ken of in raptures by their prophets, and defcribed in the mofl 
glowing colours of eallern poetry, was at length arrived. Hence 
it is not improbable that, even foine time before the birth of Jefus, 
this much wifhcd event came to be denominated, by thofe who 
expeded it, perhaps the majority of the nation, the good newt 
(being fuch in an eminent manner), and more explicitly the good 
news of the reign of God, that is, of the new difpenfation that 
would obcaiu under the promifed Meffiah. 

§ 12. A number of fuch like phrafes, borrowed from the Pro- 
phets, and from the Pfalms, relating to this ereat, had become 

Vol .L T current 


current among the people, and were adopted both by our Lord 
and by John his harbinger. Thus the Meffiah himfelf is ftyled, 
« £g;i/o«{y»j, he that cometh^ not he that Jhould come ^ as it is lefs 
properly rendered in the common verfion, it being an abbrevia- 
tion of that expreflion of the Pfalmirt, cxvlii. 26. He that cometh 
in the name of the Lord. Now it is manifeft that, when firft the 
Baptirt, then our Lord himfelf, and laftly his apoftles, in his 
life- time, announced publicly the approach of this reign, they 
announced what the generality of the people would immediately, 
and without difficulty, apprehend. I do not mean that they 
would underftand the nature of the reign or fpiritual dominion to 
be eftabliihed, for this is what few or none did ; but that they 
would immediately underftand it to relate to the acceffion of thfi 
Meffiah, their great deliverer, to that fovereignty with whicfl 
they had learnt from the prophets, and fiom the fcribes, that he 
was to be invefl:ed. The difpenfation, therefore, is properly 
ufliered in with an authoritative call to all men to amend their 
lives, and prepare for the reign of the Meffiah, the expeSation 
and joy of God's people, juft about to commence. Nothing, 
therefore, could be more fuitable, and, though alarming to the 
wicked, nothing could be more confolatory to the pious, at the 
time the nation was in fubje£tion to a foreign and oppreffive 
yoke, than fuch feafonable information. Nothing confequently 
can be better accommodated to what muft have been the fenti- 
ments and profpedts of the people at that time, or can more ac- 
curately exprefs the full import of the original, x^^uto-ui re ivxy^i- 
Pi««»i T»j ./3«5-/>L«<ef Ts» 0Wt than this literal and plain verfion, Pro- 
claiming the glad tidings of the reign of God. This conveys to 
us, at this moment, the fame ideas which, in thofe circumftances, 
muft: have been conveyed by the words of the facred hiftorian, 
into the mind of every Jewifti reader at the time. 

§ 13. On the contrary, the expreffion in the vulgar tranflation, 
preaching the gofpel of the kingdom of God, muft have been to 
fuch a reader unintelligible ; as even to us, when we abftraft 
from the familiarity occafioned by cuftom, which is apt to impofe 
upon us, it appears both obfcure and improper. Caftalio, in one 
place, (Matt. iv. 23.) departs, if poffible, ftill farther from the 
fenfe, rendering it r'egium publicans evangeltum, " publiftiing the 
" royal gofpel." Not to mention the futility of the term royoly 
applied in a way which renders it a mere expletive, the very 
fubjed publilhed, ii ^ccviXhx., the reign, is juftled out to make 
room for a fplendid but unmeaning epithet. Our Lord, we find 
from the Evangelifts, fpoke to his countrymen in the dialeft of 
their own Scriptures, andufed thofe names to which the reading 
of the Law and the Prophets, either in the original, or in the" 
verfions then ufed, had familiarized them. Our tranflators, and 
indeed moft European tranflators, reprefent him as ufing words 



which, even in their own tranflations of the Old Teftament, never 
occur, and to which, in fa6t, there is nothing there that corref- 
ponds in meaning. The people had all heard of the reign of 
the Meffiah, to he eftablifhed in the latter times, and confidered 
the arrival of that period as the happieft tidings with which th^y 
could be made acquainted. But of the Go/pel they had never 
heard before. " What is this you call the Gofpel?" they would 
naturally aik; •* and what does the Gofpel of a kingdom mean .?" 
Thefe are words to which our ears are ilrangers. No mention 
is made of fuch things in the Law, in the Prophets, or in the 

§ 14. Now, if the terms muft have been altogether unintelli- 
gible to Jews, they are, even to us Chriftians, both obfcure and 
improper. Firll, obfcure, becaufe indefinite. It does not appear 
eafy in fuch circumftances, as thofe under confideration, to allign 
a precife meaning to the w^ord Gofpd. We commonly under- 
ftand by it the whole religious inftitution of Jefus, including both 
doftrines and precepts. Nothing can be plainer than that this 
is not the meaning of the term here. The very vs-^ords which 
were preached or promulgated, are exprefsly mentioned, and 
comprifed in a fingle fentence ; M£T«»ee<rs, Jivpxs y*? ^ /3«<^J^H« I'ui 
v^u»Mf. Befides, the apoftles. Who, in our L'>rd's life- time, recei- 
ved this commiffion, were not yet qualified for teaching tire fyf- 
tem of dodlrine implied under the name go/pel, becaufe, in faft, 
they did not know it themfelves. They had then no notion of 
a Meffiah but as a temporal prince and mighty conqueror, or of 
his kingdom but as a fecular monarchy, more extenfive than, but 
of the fame nature with thofe which had preceded, to wit, the 
Aflyrian, the Perfian, the Macedonian empires, or that which 
was in being at the time, the Roman. Not one of their hearers 
could have been more prejudiced than the apoftles themfelvfes 
were at that time, aeainft a fuffering Saviour, who was- to expire 
in agonies and infamy on the crofs. 

Now, let people but coolly refieft, and then put the queftion 
to themfelves ; If we fet afide thefe important truths, the death, 
and confequently the refurreftion of Jefus Chriil, his viftory over 
the enemies of our falvation, and his purchafe of fpiritual and 
eternal bleffings by his blood ; of all which the apollles were 
then ignorant, and againft moft of which, when firil; infprmed of 
them, they were as much prejudiced as any Pharifee, what will 
remain of that which we denominate the Gofpel, in contradiftinc- 
tion to Judaifm ? The dodlrine of the Gofpel is manifeftly what 
the apollles were not qualified to teach, till they were enlightened 
by the defcent of the Holy Ghoft on the day of Pentecoft, after 
our Lord's afcenfion. Nay, they were, after his refurreftion, 
when they knew more than formerly, exprefsly commanded, 
^fore they ihould attempt to teach that dodriac, to wait the 



promifed illumination from above, A£ls i. 4. 8. But they had 
been, long before, fufficiently qualified to announce the approach 
of this difpenfation, and to warn men to forfake their fins, and to 
prepare for the appearance of their Lord and King. Further, if 
the term go/pel here be rather indefinite, how does this addition, 
of the kingdom^ ferve either to illuftrate or to limit the import of 
that term ? And an addition, which anfwers neither of thefe pur- 
pofes, cannot fail flill farther to darken it. 

§ 15. But, fecondlj, that exprefEon in our language is, in thefe 
inflances, alfo improper ; becaufe there is no meaning which 
ufe has affixed to the Englifh word go/pel, that exprefTes the 
fenfe of the original. And, as it has been ihewn that our term 
does not there fuit the word suasyfaio*!, I mean afterwards to ftiew 
that the word preaching does not exadlly convey the fenfe of 
xn^va-Tuv. At the fame time it is acknowledged, on the other 
hand, that the word tvKyfiXicv is, in many places in the epiftles of 
Paul, rightly rendered go/pel. But this is manifeftly, as has 
been Ihewn, a fecondary fenfe of later date. 

^ 16. 1 obferved, that when the word gt;«yf»A<ey is conftrued 
with a noun ferving to limit or explain its nature, it ought to be 
rendered good news. Put every regimen is not to be underftood 
as lerving this purpofe. Thus, when it is followed with irjrn 
X^tTH, with t^- Kv^tny or TO 0E», which denote the author, it is 
jullly regarded as a name for the difpenfation, and properly ren- 
dered Go/pel. In the phrafe « iwiyfiXten ra Xgifa!, not preceded by 
Iijo-sj, the regimen may denote either the auUior or the fubjtffc. 
In the firlt view, it is the go/pel of Chrijl, that is, inflituted by 
him; in the fecond, the good news of the MeJJiah^ that is, con- 
cerning him. There are, perhaps, a few other cafes in which 
the choice may be a matter of indifference. But, in moft cafes, 
the regimen afcertains the fenfe. Thus, t« jvayfa*** tjij «g!)i'^f, 
Eph. vi. 15. caa be no other than the good news of peace. The 
addition plainly indicates the fubjeft. For the fame reafon, 
TO svayfiA<ey tdj %»^iTti rtf ©£tf, Afts XX. 24. is the good news of the 
favour of God ; to ev«yfsA«ov tjjj a-uTn^ieis i^&'v, Eph. i. 13. the goad 
news of your fahation. The words in the common verfion, the 
go/pel of your fahation^ are mere words, and convey no meaning 

to Englifh ears The fecond cafe wherein the word always may, 

and commonly fhould, be rendered good news, and not go/pel^ is 
when it is conftrued with Kii^va-ffu^ I proclaim or puhlijh. The 
juflnefs of this obfervation will be manifeft, from what T fhall 
afterwards obferve on the import of that verb in the Gofpels and 

§ 17. The third cafe is, when it clearly refers to a different 
fubjeft from what is commonly with us denominated the gofpel. 
Under this, perhaps, may be ranked fome of the examples which 
4ilfo come under the firil cafe mentioned. For inilance, t« ivxyff- 


A»e» rr,{ <rttrr,^itci Ifiuii, the good news of your faJvatton. For here 
the tidings to which the apo'tle refers, was not the embafTy itfelf 
of peace by Jeius Chrilt, but it was the cordial reception which 
the Ephefians had given to that embaffy, and which was to him 
who loved them, good news, becaule a pledge of their falvation. 
Under the fame cafe ah'o, in my opinion, we ought to clafs that 
famous pafTage in the Apocalypfe, xiv. 6, 7. I faw another angel 
jly in the midji of heaven, having the everlujling gofpel (lo are the 
words i-^^rrtt 6u«vf-A<«v xiaiin* rendered in the common verlion) 
to preach to ihem that dwell on the earth ; and to every nation, 
and kindred^ and tongue, and people^ f"yi'>S '^'^^ ^ ^^"^ voice. 
Fear God and give glory to him, for the hour of hii judgment is 
come, and worfhip him^ &.c. My reafons are, firft, we are ex- 
prefsly informed what the angel had to proclaim, x//oy7c-H», which 
is all contained in the 7th verfe, and relates to a particular event 
long pofterior to the firft propagation of the gofpel, namely, the 
vengeance God wculd take on the perfecutors of his church, ex- 
preiTed in thefe v.ords, The hour of bis judgment is come. The 
rell of the verfe is to be underflood merely as a warning natu- 
rally fuggefted by the oc^cauon. Nor let it be urged, that the 
approach of the hour of judgment looks rather like bad news 
than good. It frequently holds, that the tidmgs which to one 
are the moft doleful, are to another the mod joyous. The vi- 
lions and prophecies of that Book are all directed to the churches 
of Chrifl, and intended for their ufe. To crufh their enemies 
•was to relieve the churches ; the defeat of the one was the vic- 
tory of the other. Secondly, what the angel had to promulgate, 
is not called t« lu^yfeAioi', as the word is almofl uniformly ufed, 
when referring to the Chriflian difpenfation, but fimply iva.y'^i>.ioii, 
not the gofpel^ the inftitution of Chrifl — not that which is em- 
phatically ilyled the good nevos^ but barely good news. It is 
flyled «««>(«», everkfting, with the fame propriety, and ia the 
fame latitude, as things of long duration, or of permanent confe- 
quences, are often in Scripture fo denominated. 

j 18. Again, let it be obfervcd, that by the Englifh word ^o/l 
ptl^ we do not always mean precifely the fame thing. The pre- 
dominant fenfe is doubtlefs the religious infti:ation of Jefus 
Chrill. But this is not invariably its meaning. Early in the 
church the word ivnyfiXm was employed to denote, and, in one 
paffage of the New Teifament, aclually denotes, the hiftory of 
the life, teaching, death, and refurredlion of the Son of Go J. It 
is in this fenfe that the four hiHories or narratives, written by 
Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John, containing memoirs of that 
extraordinary Perfonage, have, from the earlicil antiquity, been, 
titled, i-jctyfo.ix-, Go/pels. The word is thus ufed by Maik, i. i. 
A^Z^ m '.•jetyyiXi>i Utv X^im, The beginning of the G^Jpel of Jefus 
Chri/i. I confets, however, that it would not be eafy to decide, 



whether this ought to be accounted part of the facred text, or a 
title afterwards prefixed (as were the names of the penmen by 
fome of the firfl tranfcribers) which may have been inadvertently 
admitted into the text. But whether this application be fcrip- 
tural or not, it is very ancient, and has obtained univerfallj in 
the church. The Englifh word has precifely the fame applica- 
tion. It may be proper here to remark, that though the Greek, 
word syayysAw* has been adopted by the Syriac interpreters, yet, 
in the hilforical part, the)' admit it only into the titles of the four 
Gofpels, in the fenfe lafl mentioned, and into the firft verfe of 
Mark's Gofpel, where the fenfe is the fame. Their ufe of the 
Greek word in thefe places, is exadlly fimilar to the ufe which 
our tranflators have made of the words of the Septuagint, Ginefis 
and Exodus^ which ferve for names to the two firft books of the 
Pentateuch, but which they have never employed in the body of 
the work, where the words ytnirii and e^oSaj occur in that verfion. 
Thus, in every other palTage of the Gofpels and A£ls, %vxyyi\t»* 
is rendered if.r\^'2XD fabartha, a plain Syriac word of the fame 
fignification and fimilar origin. In this the Syriac interpreters 
appear to have a£ted more judicioully than the Latin, as they 
have been fenfible of the impropriety of darkening fome of the 
plaineft, but moli important declarations, by the unneceffary in- 
troduftion of an exotic term which had no meaning, or at leaft 
not the proper meaning in their language. In Paul's Epiftles, I 
acknowledge, they have feveral times adopted the Greek word ; 
but let it be obferved that, in thefe, the term ivscyyi>,iov is fre- 
quently employed in a different fenfe. This has in part appear- 
ed already, but will be ftill more evident from what immediately 

§ 19. The fourth fenfe of tvayfiXiov in the New Teftament is 
the miniftry of the gofpel. In this acceptation I find the word 
ufed oftener than once by the apoftle Paul. Thus, God is my 
witne/s, whom I ferve with my fpirit, in the gofpel of his Son, 
Rom. i. 9. 1)1 ru ivecyfiXto), th^t is, in the miniftry of the gofpel, or 
in difpenfing the gofpel of his Son. This is one of the paflages 
in which the Syriac interpreter has retained the original word. 
In another place, 1 Cor. ix. iS. What is my reward then? Ve- 
rily that when I preach the gofpel^ I may make the gofpel of Chrifi, 
Ts f!;«vfsA<a», without charge ; that is, that the miniftry of the 
gofpel of Chrift may not by^me be rendered chargeable. This 
the contest plainly fiiews ; for this is the only expence he is 
ere fpeaking of. I think, for perfpicuity's fake, the word mi- 
nijlry ftiould have been ufed in the tranflation, as the EngliOi 
name gofpel hardly admits this meaning. Nor are thefe the only 
places wherein the word has this fignification ; fee 2 Cor. viii. 
18. and Phil. iv. 15. ♦, 

§ 30. I obferve alfo, in the epiftles of this apoftle, a fifth 



meaning, or at leaft a particular application of the firft general 
meaning, good news. It fometimes denotes, not the whole Chri- 
Itian difpenfation, but fome particular dodlrine or promife, fpe- 
ciallj meriting that denomination. In this fenfe Paul ufes the 
v?ord, writing to the Galatians, ch. ii. 2. The particular doc- 
trine to which he gives the pertinent appellation, ivccy^iT^tov, good 
news, is the free admiffion of the Gentiles into the church of 
Chrift, without fubjefting them to circumcifion and the other ce- 
remonies of the law. This, confidering the Jewifh prejudices at 
that time, accounts for the referve which he ufed at Jerufalem, 
where, hy his own reprefentation, he imparted privately to the 
difciples of chief diltinftion, and confequentlj of moft enlarged 
knowledge and fentiments, that dodlrine which he publicly pro- 
claimed in Gentile countries. I think it is this which the apo- 
ftle fometimes, by way of diftindlion, denominates his Gofpeh 
For though there was no difcordancy in the doftrine taught by 
the different apoftles, yet to him and Barnabas, the apoltles of 
the uncircumcifion, it was fpecially committed to announce every 
where among the heathen, God's gracious purpofe of receiving 
them, uncircumcifed as they were, into the church of Chrift. 
Accordingly, as he proceeds in his argument, Gal. ii. 7. the gof- 
pel, or good news, ivuy[i?iiov, fent to the Gentiles, is exprefsl^ 
contrafted with that fent to the Jews. 

This feems alfo to be the fenfe of the word in another paf- 
fage, Rom.xvi. 25. where what he calls to iv«yfe>ij3v ji«s?, he de- 
fcribes as ft.v<ryi^i<>f xi'^^'^ «<wv<»«j <na-iyr,uiii))i, kept jecret for iiges, but 
now made known to ail nations for the obedience of the faith. 
For, in this manner, he oftener than once fpeaks of the call of 
the Gentiles. In all fuch palTages, it is better to retain the ge- 
neral term good news in the verfion. This appellation is, in fom«r 
refpedl, evidently applicable to them all, whereas the ttxva go/pet 
is never thus underttood in our language. 


Of the Phrafe it xmha h*^r\. 

xxNOTHER title by which the religious inftitution of Jefus 
Chrift is fometimes denominated, is jj >t«<»>j ^ut^n^n, which is almofl 
atways, m the writings of the apoftles and evangelifts, rendered 
by our tranflators the New Tejlament, Yet the word 3t«.&flM by 
itfelf is, except in a very few places, always there rendered not 
teflament, but covenant. It is the Greek word whereby the 
Seventy have uniformly tranflated the Hebrew H'l^i beriib, 



which our tranflators in the Old Teftament have invariably rena 
dered covenant. That the Hebrew term correfponds much bet- 
ter to the Englifli word covenant, though not in every cafe per- 
fectly equivalent, than to tejlament, there can be no queftion ; at 
the fame time it muft be owned that the word ^hc^akt,, in claiBcal 
life, is more frequently rendered tejlament. The proper Greek, 
word for covenant is ryi«^»)r,>i, which is not found in the New Tef- 
tament, and occurs only thrice in the Septuagmt. It is never 
there employed for rendering the Hebrew berith^ though, in one 
place, it is fubllituted for a term nearly fynonymous. That the 
fcriptural fenle of the word 5<tf5jix.B is more ficlj exprefTed by our 
term covenant, \\\\\ not be doubted by any body who conliders 
the conftant application of the Hebrew word fo rendered in the 
Old Tellameiit, and of the Greek word, in moft places at leaft, 
where it is ufed in the Nev?. What has led tranflators, ancient 
and modern, to render it teftament, is, I imagine, the manner 
wherein the author of the epiftle to the Hebrews argues, ch. ix. 
16, 17. in allufion to the clafTical acceptation of the term. But 
however much it was neceffary to give a different turn to the ex- 
prefSon in that psfifage, in order to make the author's argument 
as inteUigible to the Engliih,as it is in the original to the Greek 
reader, this was not a fnfficient reafon for giving a verfion to the 
word in other places that neither fuits the context, nor is con- 
formable to the eftablifhed ufe of the term, in the facred wri- 

§ 2. The term new is added to diftinguifh it from the old cO' 
vtnant, that is, the difpenfation of Mofes. I cannot help obfer- 
ving here by the way, that often the language of theological fyf- 
terns, fo far from affifting us to underftand the language of holy 
writ, tends rather to miflead us. The t%vo covenants are always 
in Scripture the two difpenfations, or religious inftitutions ; that 
under Mofes is the o/i, that under the Mefliah is the new. I do 
not deny that in the latitude wherein the term is ufed in holy 
writ, the command under the fanfliion of death which God gave 
to Adam in paradife, may, like the ordinance of circumcilion, 
with fufhcient propriety be termed a covenant ; bur it is perti- 
nent to obferve that it is never fo denominated in Scripture ; and 
that, when mention is made in the Eoiflles of the two covenants, 
the old and the new^ or the firft and the fecond, (^for there are 
two fo called by way of eminence), there appears no reference 
to any thing that related to Adam. In all fuch places, Mofes 
and Tefus are contrafled, the Jewifh economy and the Chriflian, 
Mount Sinai in Arabia, whence the law was promulged, and 
Mount Sion in jerufalem, where the gofpel was firft publifh- 

§ 3. It is proper to obferve further that, from fignifying the 
two religious difpenfations,. they came foon to denote the books, 



wherein what related to thefe difpenfations was contained ; the 
facred writings of the Jews being called » TrxXaist ^tx9/]K)), and the 
writings fuperadded by the apoftles and evangelifts, « Kxtv» ^tei^rixn. 
We have one example in Scripture of this ufe of the former ap- 
pellation. The apoftle fays, 2Cor. iii. 14. fpeaking of his 
countrymen, Until this day remaimth the veil untaken away in 
the reading of the Old T of (anient, t-t m xyctyvaa-u t/h waXaix? 5<«S>;«);f. 
The word in this application is always rendered in our language 
Teftament. We have in this followed the Vulgate, as moft mo- 
dern tranflators alfo have done. In the Geneva French, the word 
is rendered both ways in the title, that the one may fcrve for ex- 
plaining the other, Le nouveau Teftament, c'efl a dire La nowvclle 
alliance^ &c. in which they copied Beza, who fays, Teftamentum 
novum, five F^dus novum. That the fecond rendering of the 
word is the better verfion is unqueftionable ; but the title appro- 
priated by cullom to a particular book, is on the fame footing 
with a proper name, which is hardly confidered as a fubjedt of 
critlcifra. Thus we call Cefar's Diary, Cefar^s Commentaries^ 
from their Latin name, though very different in meaning from 
the Englilh word. 


Of the Name X^<r«f. 

X HE only other term necefTary to be examined here. Is i x-'^'>'> 
the Meffiah, or the Chrijl, in Englilh rendered, according to the 
etymology of the word, the anointed ; for fo both the Hebrew 
TVIVQ, Mejhiach^ and the Greek ^.^t^oi fignify ; and from the 
found of thefe are formed our names Mefjiah and Chrift. What 
firft gave rife to the term was the ceremony of anointing, by 
which the kings and the high priefls of God's people, and fome- 
times the prophets, i Kings xix. 16. were conftc. ated and ad- 
mitted to the exercife of their holy fundlions ; for all thefe func- 
tions were accounted holy among the Ifraelites. As this confe- 
cration was confidered as adding a facrednefs to their perfons, it 
ferved as a guard againft violence from the refpe6l had to reli- 
gion. Its efficacy this way was remarkably exemplified in Da- 
vid. By this confideration principally, as he acknowledges, he 
was reftrained from avenging himfelf on Saul his enemy, who 
fought his life, when he had it in his power to kill him. The 
Lord forbid^ faid he, 1 Sam. xxiv. 6. that I Jhould do this thing 
unto my mafter, the Lord's anointed, to ftretch forth mine hand 
againft him, Jeeing he is the anointed of the Lord. The word 
Vol. I. U here 


here tranflated anointed is, as in other places, in Hebrew MeJIahj 
and in the Greek of the Seventy, Chrift. It was a term, there- 
fore, in irs original ufe, applicable to all the fucceffion of kings 
and high priefts, gooi and bad, of the people of Ifrael. 

§ 2. Bat as the king and the high prieft were the heads of the 
whole nation, the one in civil, the other in religious matters, the 
term anointed^ that is, M'JJiah or Cbrift, might, not improbably, 
ferve, by a figure, to denote the chief, head, or principal of any 
clafs or people. So thinks the learned Grotius. Thus the high- 
priell is fometimes dittiaguiflied from ordinary priefls by the ti- 
tle the anointed prieft, in the Septuagii.t o k^ivq o jj^jyoj ; though 
this, I own, is not a proof of the point, fince he was literally fo 
diftinguiflied from the relt *. But that the word is fometimes 
applied, when, in the literal fenfe, no anointmg had been uled, 
cannot be quertioned. In this way it is applied to Cyrus, the 
Perfian monarch by the prophet Ifaiah, ch.xlv. i. Thus Jaitb the 
Lord to his anomted, to Cyrus ; yet Houbigant, differing from 
his ufual manner, renders the words, de unBo fuo Cyre But 
tvhether the import of this expreffion be, that Cyrus was a chief 
among kings, a mofl eminent fcvereign,a5 Grotius feems to ima- 
gine, or that he was felecled of God for the reiloration of Judah, 
and the rebuilding of the temple of Jerufalem, the only temple 
dedicated to the true God, may be made a queftion. For my part, 
I am inclinable to think that it is rather this latter interpretation 
which conveys the prophet's idea, and the meaning intended by 
the Spirit of God. And to this interpretation the context entire- 
ly agrees. The word was alfo employed to denote thofe fpecial- 
ly favoured of God, as were the patriarchs Abraham, Ifaac, and 
Jacob, concerning whom he is reprefented by the Pfalmift as ha- 
ving faid. Touch not mine anointed^ Pfal cv. 15 i Chron. xvi. 
11. The word is in the plural number, t^v xgirav ^», in the Vul- 
gate Chriftos ?neos, which, in our idiom, is not dilhnguiihed from 
the lingular. Now there is no ground from Scripture to believe 
thatany of them was in the literal ienle anointed. 

§ 3. But the moft eminent ufe and application of the word is 
when it is employed as the title of that fublime Perfonage typi- 
fied and predided from the beginning, who was to prove, in the 
fnofl exalted fenfe, the Redeemer and Lord of God's people. He 
is fpoken of by the prophets under feveral charafters, and, among (I 
others, under this 0/ God*s anointed, the Meffiah or the Chrilt. 
Tho^ of the prophets, who feem more efpecially to have appro- 
priated this title, formerly more common, to the Mediator of the 
new covenant, were, the royal prophet David, (Pfal. ii. a.) Ifaiah, 
(ch. Ixi. I. &c.^ and Daniel, (ch. ix. 25, 26.) The firft. repre- 

' fents 

* TJie fonsof Aaron were indeed all anointed, in their father's lifetime^ 
by Uie exprcfs co-nmand of God j but it does not appear that this ^r^c- 
tice dsfcended to other ordinary priefls. 


fents him as anointed of God king of God's heritage, the fccond 
as fet apart and confecrated to be ihe melTenger of good tidings 
to the inhabitantsof the earth, the third as appointed to make ex- 
piation for the fins of the people. 

§ 4. Tt deferves to be remarked, that in the Englifti tranflation 
of the Old Tertament, the word is alwaj-S rendered anointed, to 
whomfoever applied, except in the two verfes of Daniel quoted 
in the margin, where it is tranflattd Mejfiah. In the Nt w Tef- 
tament, the correfpohding Greek word is always rendered Chrtftj 
and commonly without the article. In this our interpreters have 
been fo uniform, that they have even employed the word Chr'ifty 
where the paflage is a quotation and literal tranflation from the 
Old Teftament, in which the Hebrew word, though perfedlly 
equivalent, had been by themfelves rendered anointed. Thus, 
A6ts iv. 26, 17. the ruhrs were gathered together againjl the 
Lord, and againft bis Chrift^ x*zx t» Xgfrs avrif. The words are 
quoted from the fecond Pfalm, where they had faid, againft bis 
anointed. The chang-e here is the more lemarkable, as there is 
a plain reference to the meaning of fche word in the very next 
fentence : For of a truth againft thy holy child 'Jefus whom thou 
haft anointed., it '.-/^Krctc, both Herod and Pontius Pilate, with the 
Gentiles and people of Ifrael, were gathered together. . 

§ 5. In the Vnlgate, in all the places of the Old Teftament 
above referred to, it is tranflated Chnfus. So it is alfo in Hou- 
bigant, except where it is applied to C}Tus, as mentioned 3 2, 
Whereas, in regard to Cyruff, it is in the Vulgate, Hac d'lcit Do- 
fninus Qbrifto meo Cyro. The fame apptrllation is alCo given to 
King Saul, Dixitque David ad viros fuos^ Propitius Jit mihi Dc>~ 
minus, ne faciam banc rem domino meOy Chnfro Dofrnnt, tft mit- 
tam manum meam in eum, quia Chriftus Domini eft. In the 
Pialms, Nolite tangere Cbriftos meos, and adverfus Dominirm et 
adverfui Chriftum ejus. In Daniel alfo the word is in the fame 
way rendered. Here indeed, and in the laft mentioned paffage 
from the Pfalms, as no Chriftian can well doubt the reference to 
the Melliah, there is not fo great an appearance of impropriety j 
yet, when applied to the high-prieft, thev have not faid chriftus^ 
bat unBus., g'^'iog the im.port ot the word as it was literally ap^ 
plicable to him. Oiher^vife the term Chrijlus might have bees^ 
ufed at leaft as properly of the high-prieft, who was, in one re,- 
fpeft, a figure of our Lord, as either of a heathen prir^re, or 
even of a bad king of Ifrael. All the other Latin tranflator?, 
except Leo de fuda., if I remember right, ufe unBus, not only ia 
fpeaking of the prieft, but alfo in relation to Cyrus and Saul ; 
and wherever they have not obierved a dircft reference to the 
Lord Jefus. Leo, in the paiTage above quoted from Samuel, ufes 
both words, mejjiu and un£ius.,in relation to Saul, where he pro- 
bably introduces the liittev word for explaining the former. Ser- 



vet me DominuJ, fie rem ijlam dejlgnem contra domlnum meurrt 
m'JJiam Domini, ut fcilicet inferam ei manum ; ejl enim unEius 
Domini. To Cyrus alfo he applies the word mejjias. In Da- 
niel, Leo, Cailalio and Houbigant, all ufe the word meJJias : Ju- 
nius ufes chrijlui with the Vulgate, both there and in the fecond 
JTalm, in which lait mentioned place Leo alfo ufes chrijlus. 
About other modern tranflations it is not neceflary here to en- 
quire. It is fufRcient to obferve that at, and for many years be- 
fore, the time of our Lord's appearing, the term was underflood 
to denote the great Deliverer and Prince whom God had promi- 
fed, by his prophets, to fend for the comfort and redemption of 
his people. 

§ 6. Let us now confider a little the ufe of the term in the 
New Teflament. If we were to judge by the common verfion, 
or even by mod verfions into modern tongues, we (hould confider 
the word as rather a proper name than an appellative, or name 
of office, and ihould think of it only as a furname given to our 
Lord. Our tranflators have contributed greatly to this millake, 
by very feldom prefixing the article before Chrijt^ though it is 
rarely wanting in the ori^nal. The word chrijt was at firfl as 
much an appellative as the word hapt'tft was, and the one was as 
regularly accompanied with the article as the other. Yet our 
tranflators, who always fay the baptift., have, one would think, 
ftudioufly avoided faying the chrift. This may appear to fuper- 
ficial readers an inconfiderable'difFerence ; but the addition of the 
article will be found, when attended to, of real confequence for 
conveying the meaning in Englift], with the fame perfpicuity and 
propriety with which it is conveyed in Greek. So much virtue 
there is in the article, which, in our idiom, is never prefixed to 
the name of a man, though it is invariably prefixed to a name of 
office, (unlefs where fome pronoun, or other appropriating ex- 
preffion renders it unneceffary), that without it the fenfe is al- 
ways darkened, and fometimes marred. Thus, in fuch expref- 
fions as thefe, Tbii Jefus whom I preach unto you ii Chrift, Afts 
xvii. 3. Paul teftified to the Jews that J ejus was Chrift, ch. 
iviii. 5. Shewing hy the Scriptures that Jefus was Chrift., ver. 28. 
the unlearned reader forms no diftinfl apprehenfion, as the com- 
mon application of the words leads him uniformly to confider Je- 
fus and Chrift, as no other than the name and the furname of the 
f^me perfon. It would have conveyed to fuch a reader precife- 
ly the fame meaning to have faid, Paul teftified to the fews that 
Chrift was fefus ,- and fo of the rell. The article alone, there- 
fore, in fuch cafes, adds confiderable light to the expreffion j yet 
no more than what the v.-ords of the hiftorian manifeftly convey 
to every reader who underftands his language. It Ihould be, 
therefore, Paul teftified to the Jews thatjefus was the chrift ^ or 



the meffiali, Sec. Many other examples might be brought to the 
fame purpofe ; but thefe are fufBcient. 

§ 7. But it may be afked, Is the word Chrijl then never to be 
underflood in the Ne\"» Feftament as a proper name, but always 
as having a dire6l reference to the office or dignity ? I anfwer 
that, without queftion, this word, though originally an appella- 
tive, came at length, from the frequency of application to one 
individual, and only to one, to fupply the place of a proper 
name. What would contribute to hallen this efFe^, was the 
commonnefs of the naxriC 'Jifus among the Jews at that time, 
which rendered an aiiditlon neceffary for diflinguift^ng the per- 
fon. The remark of Grotius is not without foundation, that, in 
procefs of time, the name 'Jejus was very much dropped, and 
Chrijl^ which had never been ufed before as the proper name of 
any perfon, and was, for that very reafon, a bttter diflindion, 
was fubftituted for it ; infonuich that, among the heathen, our 
Lord came to be more known by the latter than by the forrner. 
This ufe feems to have begun foon after his afcenfion. In hii 
life-time, it does not appear that the word was ever ufed in this 
manner; nay, tlie contrary is evident from fcveral paflages of 
the Gofpels. But the Evangelilts wrote fome years after the 
period above mentioned, and therefore, the more perfectly to 
notify the fubjeft of their hiftory, they adopted the practice com- 
mon among Chriftians at that time, which was to employ the 
word as a furname for the fake of diftinftion. This was efpe- 
cially proper in the beginning of their narrative, for afcertaining 
the perfon whofe hiiiory they were to write. Thus Matthew 
begins, The lineage of ^efus Chrift, i. i. ; and a little after, 
ver. iS. Now the birth of 'J ejus Chrift happened thus. Mark, 
in like manner, i. i. The beginning of the gofpel offcfus Chrift. 
In all the three places it is \/,T-d Xfirs*, Jefus Ghrift, not I^a-a t» 
XS'«^» J^f^s the Chrift, or the MelTiah. 

Matthew and Mark, as was jult now obferved, name him fo^ 
in introducing their Gofpels ; but it deferves to be remarked, 
that they do not afterwards, in their hiflory, either name him fo 
themfelves, or mention this name as given him by any of his 
contemporaries: nay, the very profeflion of Peter, and the doubts 
raifed by his enemies in regard to his being « ;t^5<5-o;, the Mefjiah^ 
or the Chriji, and his never being named familiarly, either by 
them or by others, during that period, UcHi X^js-oj, but fimply 
Inviti or i I>)5-aj, which occurs in the four Gofpels upwards of five 
hundred times, put it beyond doubt, that the word was never 
applied to him as a proper name, whilft he remained on this 
earth. It was at that time always underflood as the denomina- 
tion of the dignity or office to which fome believed him entitled, 
others difbelieved, and many doubted. The names ufed both by 
Matthew and bv Mark, in the beginning of their Gofpels, and 



by John in the introduftory part of his, i. 17, for Luke doti 
not adopt this manner in his Gofpel, Ihew only the ufage which 
obtained at the time when they wrote, but not when their Lord 
was living upon the earth. In the laft of the four Gofpels, he 
is in one place, John xvii. 3. reprefented as cailmg himfelf Jefus 
Chrift in an addrefs to God ; but this is fo fingular, that I cannot 
help fufpefting an accidental omillion of the article ; and that the 
claufe murt have flood originally, iv a-ireiXet; irjs^v re* ;^(>»«-4/, y^/^s 
the mejjiuh whom thou haft fent. But whatever be in this, we 
are warranted to conclude, from the uniform tenor of all the 
Gofpels, that y^^irog^ in this paffage, mufl be underllcod as the 
name of his oflice. Now, for the very fame reafon for which 
our tranflators have rendered «' /3«5rT<s-r>)j, uniformly tbt hciptijt^ 
with the article, they ought to have rendered « y^ii<Trt>z-, i^e chrift^ 
or the mej/tah, with the article. By not doing it, they have 
thrown much obfcurity on feme pafTages, and weakened others. 

) 8. Though in the epiflles it may be fometime^ difficult, but 
is feldom of confequence, to determine whether x^i^ra be an ap- 
pellative or a proper name, there is rarely in the Gofpels, with 
which I am here more immediately concerned, any difEcnlty 
that can retard an attentive and judicious critic. Such will be 
fenfible, that whatever was the cafe aftcrw ards, the word Chrif!, 
during the period compreliended in the Gofpel hiflory, was em- 
ployed folely to exprefs the ofHce or dignity wlierewith he v.-as 
invefted, as the apoflle of God, for the redemption of the world. 
Accordingly, when it is ufed in the Gofpels, the ftrefs of the 
fenteace lies commonly on the fignification of that word. Peter, 
in his folemn confeffion, fays, John vi. 69. IVe believe and are 
Jure that thou art « xpittc,^ the cbriji, the mejp.ab, the Son of the 
litjitig God. Here the fubRar.ce of his declared belief lies much 
in the import of this term. Our tranflators have confidcred this 
as fo evident that, in the parallel pafTages in other Gofpels, thej 
have departed from their ordinary pradlice, and rendered it the 
chrift, and in this pafTage, lefs properly, that chrift. In other 
places where propriety equally required the article, they have 
not given it. 

Of feveral which might be quoted, I fhall mention only one 
example in the queflion put by Jefus to the Pharifet.s, Matt^xxii. 
41 Tt liAiv^Mi TTi^t TV y,^tTii^ which our tranflators render. What 
think ye of Chi ift ? The v.'ord ufed in this manner, without any 
article definite or indefinite, or any other term to afcertain the 
meaning, mufl, in our idiom, be a proper name ; and, as here 
propofed by Jefus, can be undei flood no otherwife by an unlearn- 
ed reader than as intended for drawing forth their fentiments con- 
cerning himfelf. To fuch the queftioo mufl appear identical 
with What think yc offefus ? A name of office is never ufed in 
fo indifliniSt a manner. For example, we may fr.y indefinitely. 



IVhat think ye of a iing ? or definitely, IVhat think ye cf the 
kingf but never, What th'ink ye of king ? unlefs we fpeak. of one 
whofe name is King. Yet an appellative may be ufed without 
an article when the name is fubjoincd, becaufe this ferves equally 
with the article to afcertain the meaning, as thus, What think ye 
cf king Solomon ^ In the place above quoted, there was therefore 
the ftro»ngeft reafon for following more clofely the original, as it 
was evidently our Lord's purpofe to draw forth their fentiments, 
not concerning himfelf, the individual who put the queftion to 
them, and whom he knew they confidered as an impoftor, but, 
in general, concerning the quality of that Perfonage whom, under 
the title of Meffiah, they them.felves expelled. 

§ 9. One mark of diftinction, therefore, whereby the title 
^«;s-oj may be difcriminated from the name, is its being attended 
with the article. I do not mention this, however, as holding 
invariably, but very generally. When the word is in the voca- 
tive, by the idiom of the language, there can be no article ; in 
that cafe, therefore, we muft be direfted folely by the fenfe. 
Thus, in ■jF^o^r,TivT»y )ifiii x.^i'Ti, Matt. xxvi. 68. this terra muft 
mean mej/iib, as the intended ridicule is entirely founded on their 
afcribing that charafter to one in his wretched circumftances. 
Anocher exception is, when it is joined to fome other title, as 
X^ifoj Kyg;fl?, Luke ii. 11. X^fj-ij (iaTO.iv?, xxiii. 2. ; and fometimes, 
but more rarely, when conlirued with a pronoun, as w» rn xvroi 
iu.i>.i'/r,Tn %§<?■»», John ix. 22. where the fer.fe renders the meaning 
indubitable. In a few places in regard to this, as well as to 
other terms, there is an ellipfis of the article, where the moft 
common ufage would require it. Of this «r; jij^fa srs, Mark ix. 
41. is an inltance. 

I know it may be objected to the article as a criterion, that in 
Greek it is not unufual to prefix it to the proper names of per- 
fons. Accordingly, in naming our Lord, Um and « i>.5-»; are 
ufed indifferently. For this real'on, I do not lay much Itrcfs on 
this diftindlion, unlefs it be confirmed by the connection. In 
t*he Epiilles, it is plain, that the term is ufed familiarly as a pro- 
per name, and confequently when alone, and not appearing from 
the context to be emphatical, may be properly rendered as a 
name, whether it have the article or not. But when it imme- 
diately follows lijTx?, the article not intervening, it can hardly be 
interpreted otherwife. Let it be obferved that, in fcriptural ufe, 
when a perfon has two names, the article, if ufed at all, is pre- 
fixed to the firft name, and never inferted between them, unlefs 
when fome other word, as AsyettEjef, is added by way of explana- 
tion. Thus it is UofiKioi <Pysei, 'Zi^yte? UuvXtif le'JO*; Itrjcx^iUTm, ITsr- 

T«sj n.'?.«T«;, and Siftiii" TliT^oi. Indeed, where a perlon is dillin- 
guifhed by adding an epithet rather than a furname, denoting the 
place of his birth, or of his refidence, the article is conftantly 


i6o P R E L r M I N A R y 

prefixed to the adje£llve. Thus it is always Moi^ja i, M««/5aAtfnr, 
literally Mary the Magdalene, that is, of Magdala, a city on the 
lake of Genuefaret ; and l;;<ret/j a N«^«2«<oj, jefus the Na%arene^ or 
of Nazareth. 

When the article, therefore, is inferted between the words 
V/io-av; and X^<cflj, there is reafon to confider the latter as ufed em- 
phatically, and pointing diredlly to his office. In many places 
in the Epiflles, perhaps in a very few in the Gofpels, it may be 
regarded as a matter of indifference, in which of the two ways 
the term is tranflated. Thus, in the firft chapter of Matthew, 
ver. 16. l>:7Kj \\yt>^ivt<; X^ito?, may be either Jefus who is called 
Cbrijly that being a furname which, when Matthew wrote, was 
frequently given him, or ye/us who is called (that is accounled^ 
MeJJiah. I have, in my verfion, preferred the fecond interpre- 
tation ; as, in the verfe immediately following, we cannot un- 
derftand otherwife, the w^ords lu^ th zi^'^^y with the article, and 
■without the name Ua-a prefixed. If lo, Myofuvas %§/5-e; is men- 
tioned to prepare us for this application of the title. Befides* 
the fame phrafe occurs again in this Gofpel, xxvii. 1*7. 22. as 
ufed by Pilate at a time when it was never applied to our Lord 
but by his followers, and that foleiy as the denomination of his 
office. So much for the method whereby we may difcover when 
this word is emphatical, and when it is merely a furname. 

J 10. It is proper now to enquire, in the laft place, which of 
the three terms, MfJJiah^ Cbrift, or Anointed^ is the moll proper 
to be applied in an Englifli veifion. The word Anointed is in- 
deed an Englifh word, and is, befides, in refpeft of the idea it 
conveys, expreffive of the etymological import of the Hebrew 
and Greek terms. But, notwithftanding thefe advantages, it is 
not fo proper in this cafe for being ufed in a verfion. For firft, 
the original term had early been employed, as we have feen, 
without any regard to the literal fignification ; and in the ordinary 
application cf it, in our Lord's time, little or no attention feems 
to have been given to the circumftance of unftion, which gave 
rife to the name. Though the word Anointed^ therefore, ex- 
prelTes the primitive import of the Hebrew name, it does not 
convey the meaning in which it was then unlverfally underftood. 
It was confidered foleiy as the well-known title of an extraordi- 
nary office, to w'hich there was nothing fimilar amongft any 
other people. The original name, therefore, agreeably to what 
was concluded in a former difcourfe, (Diff. II. § 5) ought to be 
retained. Secondly, it deferves fome notice that the word, both 
in Hebrew and in Greek, is a fubftantive, and therefore, in point 
of form, well adapted for a name of office, being fufceptible of 
the fame variety, in number and mode of conftruftion, with 
other fubftantives ; the Englilh word Anointed is a participle and 
indeclinable, and fo far from being adapted for the name of an 



office, that it is grammatically no more than the attributive of 
fome name, either expreiled or underftood. 

§ II. As to the other two words, MeJJiah and Chrift, it may- 
be thought a matter of indifference which of them fhould be pre- 
ferred. The following are the reafons which have determined 
me to give the preference to the former. Firft, our Lord's own 
miniftry was only amonglt his countrymen the Jews, to whom 
the title of mcjji.ih was familiar. With them, wherefoever dif- 
perfed, it is confidered as the tittle of that dignity to this day, 
and is accordingly naturalized in every language that they fpeak. 
We never hear of the Jewijh chrift^ it is always the Jexvi/k 
mejjlah. When the Englilli tranflators found it convenient, in 
tranflating Daniel, to adopt a term more appropriated than the 
general word anointed^ they chofe the Hebrew term mefftah^ in 
preference to the Greek ; and it is furely proper, when the 
meaning of a word in the New Teftament is manifeftly the 
fame, to conform, as much as poffible, to the language of the 
Old. That the word meJJlah was conftantly ufed in Paleftine, 
in our Lord's time, is evident from the two paiTages in the Gof- 
pel of John, i. 42. iv. 25. where, after mentioning it as the 
title in current ufe both with Jews and with Samaritans, he adds 
the explanation in Greek. Secondly, mejjiah is, even in Englilb 
ufe, much more familiar, as the name of the office, than the 
term chrift^ which is now univerfally underftood as a proper 
name of our Saviour. The word mejjlab^ on the contrary, is 
never employed, and confequently never underftood, as a proper 
name. It is invariably a name of office ; and even this circum- 
ftance, however flight it may appear, has a confiderable influence 
on perfpicuity. 

§ 12. I Ihall only add here, before T conclude this fubject, that 
the word y,g_i7a', is frequently ufed by Paul as a trope, denoting 
fometimes the Ghriftian fpirit and temper, as when he fays, My 
little children^ of ■whom I travail in birth again, until Cbrijl be 
formed in you^ Gal. iv. 19.; fometimes the Chriftian doftrine, 
But ye have not fo learned Chrifi^ Eph. iv. 28, ; and in one 
place at leaft, the Ghriftian church, For as the body is one^ and 
bath many members ; and all the members of that one body, being 
'many, are one body : fo alfo is Chrifl, i Cor. xii. 12- In thefe 
cafes it is better to retain the name Chrift, as ufed hitherto in 
the veriion. 

§ 13. Some have thought that the expreffion y«; tk «>.'>^^ir», 
the fon of man, which our Lord always ufes when he fpeaks of 
himfelf in the third perfon, is alfo a title which was then under- 
ftood to denote the meffiah. But of this there does not appear 
fufficient evidence. The only paflage of moment that is pleaded 
in fupport of it, is from the prophet Daniel, who fays, that he 
faw in the night vifions, one like thi fon of man come^ with the 
■ Vol. I. X clouds 


clouds ofheaven, to the ancient 0/ days, and that there was ghtn 
him dominion, and glory, and a kingdom^ Dan. vii. 13, 14. There 
can be no reafonable doubt, from the defcription given, that the 
mefliah is meant. But this is not notitied by any of the terms 
or phrafes taken feparately ; it is the refult of the whole. No- 
thing appears to be poiated out by this fingle circumftance, one 
like the Jon of man ^ or like a fon of man (as it ought to have been 
rendered, neither term being mffatu £n:phatico^ which in Chal- 
dee fupplies the article), but that he would be a human, not an 
angelical, or any other kind of being : for, in the oriental idiom, 
fon of man and man are terms eqniva'ent. 

The four monarchies which were to precede that of the mef- 
liah, the prophet had, in the foregoing part of the chapter, de- 
fcribed under the figure of certain beads, as emblems feverally of 
the predominant character of each ; the firlt. under the figure of 
a I'.on, the fecond under that of a bear, the third of a leopard, 
and the fourth of a monfter more terrible than any of thefe. 
This kingdom, which God himfelf v.'as to erect, is contradiftin- 
guifhed to all the reft, by the fijjure of a man, in order to denote 
that whereas violence, in fome £hape or other, would be the prin- 
cipal means by which thofe merely fecular kingdoms v/ould be 
eilablifhed, and terror the principal motive by which fubmiffion 
v.'ould be enforced, it would be quite otherwife in that fpirituai 
kmgdom to be erected by the ancient of days, wherein every 
thing would be fuiced to man's rational and moral nature ; affec- 
tion would be the prevailing motive to obedience, and perfuafion 
the means of producing it ; or, to ufe the Scripture expreffion, 
we Tnould be drawn with cords of a man^ with hands of love. 

Had the prophet ufed man inftead of fon of man, could one 
have concluded, that the word man was intended os a diftinguifli- 
ing title of the meffi^h ? Tt will hardly be pretended. Yet the 
argument would have been the fa ne, for the terms are fynony- 

There are two phrafes by which this may be expreffed in 
Hebrew, CDIN rn ben adam, and Ci^W \1 hen ifh. When thefe 
two are co.itrafled to each other, t'.ic former denotes or,e of low 
degree, the latter one of fupeiior rank. Thus hene adam uhene 
ijb, are in the Pfalms, xlix. 2. rightly rendered in the common 
verfion low and high. The firll hene adam is, in the Septuagint, 
tranflated y5!y£»«j, in the Vulgate, terrigena^ earth-born, or fons 
of earth, in allufion to the derivation of the word adam, man, 
from a word fignifying ground or earth. The fame ben adar:^ 
is the common appellation by which God addreffes the prophet 
Ezekiel, which is rendered by the Seventy In ttv^^ufzu, and fre- 
quently occurs in that book. The fon of man, therefore, was an 
humble title, in which nothing was claimed, but what was eo- 
i<^yed in common with all mankind. In the Sjriac verfion pf 



the New Tedament it often occurs, where the term in the Greek 
is {imply «vi>j&)To?, man. 

That it was never underftood by the people in our Lord's 
time, as a title of the naeiliah, or even a title of dignity, is ma- 
nifeft from feveral confiderations. In the firft place, though 
Jefus commonly takes it to himfelf, it is never given him by the 
Evangelills, in fpeaking of him. He is never addreiTed with 
this title by others, whether difciples or ftrangers. Several ho- 
nourable compellations were given him, by thofe who applied 
for relief, as, r.vs^n, ot^ATKaXi, rabbi ; fometimes he is addreffed 
fon of David., fometimes fan of God^ and on one occaiion he is 
called he %}ho cometh in the name of the L<ird. The two laft 
titles may reafonably be fuppofed to imply an acknowledgment 
of him ?s mefliah Now, if the title yb/z of man had been thought, 
even in any degree, refpedtful from others, we fhould certainly 
have had fome examples of it in his life- time. Further, our 
Lord was in the practice of denominating himfelf in this manner, 
at the very time that he prohibited his difciples from acquainting 
any maii that he was the mefliah. What purpofe could this 
prohibition have anfwered, if the title he commonly afTumed in 
the hearing of every body, was underftood to be of the fame im« 
port? It is urged further, that this phrafe is ufed in the Apoca- 
lypfe, i. 13. in defcribing the vilion which the apoftle John had 
of his Mafter. The anfwer is the fame with that given to the 
argument founded on Daniel's vifion. Firft, the phrafe is not 
entirely the fame with that by which Jefus dillinguifhes himfelf 
in the Gofpel. Our Lord calls himfelf h v<ej ts av^^^^a, the fon 
of man ; John fays, i^cmy iw »y^eM77if, without any article, one like 
a fon of man, that is, in the human form. It is indeed evident 
that he is fpeaking of Jefus Chrift ; but this is what we gather 
from the whole defcription and context, and not from this cir- 
cumftance alone. 

§ 14. But, whatever be in this, there are feveral titles whichj 
in the writings of the apoftles and evangelifts, are peculiarly ap- 
plied to our Lord, though they do not often occur. I have al- 
ready mentioned t^-^omvo? u oveuxn xt;§<a, and d iici Ax/Sii. Add 
to thefe i eeyio^ ts Bm, the faint., or the holy one of God, « {xAext«< 
TK 0£a, the f/f/?, or the chofen one of God., both espreffions bor- 
rowed from the prophets. Now, though thefe terms are in the 
plural number fufceptible of an application to others, both angels 
and men, they are, in the New Teftament, when in the Angular 
number, and accompanied with the article, evidently appropria- 
ted to the meffiah. 





•Several words in the New Teftament confidered by our tranf- 
lators as fynonymous, and commonly rendered by the fame Eng- 
lifli word, are not really fynonymous, though their fignifications 
may have an affinity, and though fometimes they may be ufed 
indifcriminately. I fhall exemplify this remark in a few in- 
llances of words which occur in the Gofpels. 


Ai«(/^«A«;, Atiifivy, and Attif^ntn. 

X HE firft of this kind, on which I intend to make fome obfer- 
vations, are ^Mt/SaAej, iuifiut^ and Ja/y»t»H»r, all rendered in the com- 
mon tranllation almoft invariably devil. The word hx,3»x»i, in its 
ordinary acceptation, Cigni&cs calumniator, traducer,/a//e accu/er, 
from the verb 3«t/3«AAf<», to calumniate, &c. Though the word 
is fometimes, both in the Old Teftament and in the New, applied 
to men and women of this charafter, it is, by way of eminence, 
employed to denote that apellate angel, who is exhibited to us, 
particularly in the New Teftament, as the great enemy of God 
and man. In the two firft chapters of Job, it is the word in the 
jSeptuagint by which the Hebrew iDii^ Satan or adverfary, is 
tranflated. Indeed the Hebrew word in this application, as well 
as the Greek, has been naturalized in moft modern languages. 
Thus we fay indifferently the devil or Satan ; only the latter has 
more the appearance of a proper name, as it is not attended with 
the article. There is this difi"erence between the import of fuch 
terms, as occurring in their native tongues, and as modernized 
•in tranflations. In the former they always retain fomewhat of 
their primitive meaning, and, befide indicating a particular being, 



or clafs of beings, they are of the nature of appellatives, and 
mark a fpecial charafter or note of diltinftion in fuch beings. 
Whereas, when thus Latinized or Englifhed, they anfvver foleiy 
the firll of thefe ufes, as they come nearer the nature of proper 
names. This remark extends to all fuch words as cherub, fe- 
rapb, angel, apojlle, tvangeliji, mejjiah. 

\ 2. A<a/3«Aej, I obferved, is fometiines applied to human be- 
ings. But nothing is eafier than to diftinguifh this applicatiou 
from the more frequent application to the arch-apoflate. One 
mark of didinclion is that, in this laft ufe of the term, it is never 
found in the plural. When the plural is ufed, the context al- 
ways ihews that it is human being?, and not fallen angels, that 
are fpoken of. It occurs in the plural only thrice, and only in 
Paul's Epiftles. rut^iiKci?.^ fays he, i Tim. iii. ii. a-uvTw? ^s^Msar, 
ftn S/<«^eA»?. Kven fo mujl their vjtves be grave, not Jlandtrers. 
In fcriptural ufe the word may be either mafculir.e or feminine. 
Again, fpeaking of the bad men who would appear in the lait 
times, he favs, 2 Tim. iii. 3. amongft other thin 2:5, that they 
will be x<rosj^n, ac-xevSe*, J/«/3oAa<, in the common tranilation, with- 
out natural affici ion, truce-hreaken, falfe accufers Once more, 
lit. 11. 3. n^iT-QvTi^iti a<reiVTCii ti KXTX?-nftccTi k^vr^iTfHi, fivi ^la/ioXn;, 
The aged women likewife^ thai they be in behaviour as hecometh 
holinefs, not falfe accufers. Another criterion, whereby the ap- 
plication of this word to the prince of darknefs may be difcover- 
ed, is its being attended with the article. The term almoft in- 
variably is 'c ^fUiZoXoi. I fay almoj?, becaufe there are a few ex- 

§ 3. It may not be amifs, ere we proceed, to fpecify the ex- 
ceptions, that we may difcover whether there be any thing in the 
conflruflion that fupplies the place of the article, or at lead 
makes that it may be more eaiily difpenfed mth. Paul, addref- 
fmg himfelf to Elymas, the forcerer, v/ho endeavoured to turn 
away the proconful Sergius Paulus from the faith, fays, Ads 
xiii. 10. full of all fuhtilty^ thou child of the devil, im §i«^«>.». 
There can be no doubt that the apoflle here means the evil fpi- 
rit, agreeably to the idiom of Scripture, where a good man is 
called a child of God, and a bad man a child of the devil. Te 
are of your father the devil, faid our Lord to the Pharifees, John 
viii. 44. As to the example from the Ads, all I can fay is, 
that in an addrefs of this form, where a vocative is immediately 
followed by the genitive of the word conftrued with it, the con- 
nexion is conceived to be fo clofe as to render the omiilion of the 
article more natural than in other cafes. This holds efpecially 
when, as in the prefent inftance, the addrefs muft have been ac- 
companied with fome emotion and vehemence in the fpeaker. I 
knovv not whether avTi^ixs? l^m^ ^;«,i3oAo;, 1 Pet. v. 8. your adver- 
fary the devil^ ought to be confidered as an example. There being 



here two appellatives, the article prefixed to the firft maybe regards 
ed as common, though I own it is snore ufual in fuch cafes for the 
greater emphaiis to repeat it. In the word «? tr* S/aS«;.c; xut e-xrct- 
Mi, Rev. XX. 2. who is the devil and fatan ; as the fole view is 
to mention the names whereby the malignant fpirit is diftioguiih- 
ed, we can hardly call this inflance an exception. Now thefe 
are all the examples I caii find, in which the word, though ufed 
indefinitely or without the article, evidently denotes our fpiritual 
and ancient enemy. The examples in which it occurs m this 
fenfe with the article, it were tedious to enurrerate. 

\ 4. There is only one place, befide thofe above mentioned, 
where the word is found without the article, and, as it is intend- 
ed to exprefs a human characler, though a very bad one, ought 
not, I think, to have been rendered devil. The words are, ^f- 
Jus anfwered, Have I not chofen you ttxehe, and one of you is a 
devil? i^ i/fiiv Ui ^:ce.,3oUi in, John vi. 7s. My reafons for not 
tranflating it devil in this place are ; firft, the word is I'tridly and 
originally an appellative, denoting a certain bad quality, and 
though commonly applied to one particular being, yet naturally 
applicable to any kind of being fuceptible of moral character ; 
fecondly, as the term in its appropriation to the arch rebel, al- 
ways denotes one individual, the term a devil is not agreeable to 
Scripture ftyle. inlt_.nuch, that I aon inclined to think, that if our 
Lord's intention had been to ufe, by an antoncm?iia, the diftin- 
guilhing name of the evil fpirit, in order to exprefs more Wrong- 
ly the famenefs of charaSer in both, he would have faid 'e ?<^,^«- 
>»?, one of you is the devil-, this being the only way whereby that 
evil fpirit is difcriminated. The words Kvri^>Kc: adverfary, ?rj<g*^«» 
tempter with the article, are alfo ufed by way of eminence, though 
not fo frequently, to exprefs the fame malignant being ; yet, 
when either of thefe occurs without the article, applied to a man 
as an adverfary or a tempter, we do not fuppofe any alluiion to 
the devil. The cafe would be difFerent, if one were denominated 
'« mi^et^ufy '» anTiaiKt;, the tempter, the adverfary. 

There is not any epithet (for J(«5eA«s is no more than an epi- 
thet) by which the fam.e fpirit is oftener diftinguiilied, than by 
that of '• -xornfti, the evil one. Now, when a man is called lim- 
ply ao»i5»j without the article, no more is underi^ood • 1 be implied 
than that he is a bad man. But if tlie expreffion were "• -^cim;. un- 
lefs ufed to dillinguifh a bad from a good man of the fame name^ 
we fliould confider it as equivalent to the devil, or the evil one. 
Even in metaphorical appellations, if a man were denominated a 
dragon or a ferpent^ we fhould go no farther for the import of 
the metaphor, than to the nature of the animal fo called ; but if 
he were termed the dragon., or the old ferpent^ this would im- 
mediately fuggefl to us, that it was the intention of the fpeaker 
to reprefent the charadler as the fame with that of the feducer of 



our firft parents. The unlearned Englifli reader will objed. 
Where is the inipropriety in Ipeaking of a devil ? Is any thing 
more common in the New Teitament? How often is rhere meii- 
tion of perfons pcffclTed with a devil ? We hear too of numbers 
of them. Out of Mary Magdalene went feven ; and out of the 
furious man who made the fepulchres his refidence, a legion. 
The Greek {Indent needs not be informed, that in none of thofe 
places is the term oix!icX»c, but iutitan or ^xiuomoy. Nor can any 
thing be clearer from Scripture, than that, tliough the demons arc 
innumerable, there is but one devil in the univerfe. BsUdes, if 
■we mull fuppofe that this word, when applied to hurnaa creatures, 
bears at the fame time an allufion to the evil fpirit, there is the fame 
reafon for rendering it devils in the t^irre paOTages lately quoted 
from Paul ; for, wherever the indefinite ule is proper in the fm- 
gular, there can be no impropriety in the ule of the plaraL Both 
equally fuppofe that there may be i»:iay of the fort. Now, it is 
plain that thofe paiTages would lofe greatly by fuch an alteration. 
Inilead of pointing, according to the manifell fcope of the place, 
to a particular bad quality to be avoided, or a vice whereby cer- 
tain dangerous perfons would be dillinguiihed, it could only ferve 
as a vague expreluon of what is bad in general, and io would 
convey little or no inftruciion. 

§ 3. The only plea 1 knov/, in favour of the common tranfla- 
tion of the pafTage is, that, by the help of the trope antonomafia, 
(for devil in our language has much the force of a proper name), 
the exprefTion has more llrength and animation than a mere ap- 
pellative could give it. But that the expreflion is more anima- 
ted, is fo far from being an argument in its favour, that it is, in 
my judgment, the contrary. It favours more of the human fpi- 
rit than of the divine, more of the iranHator than of the author. 
We are inclinable to put that expreffion into an author's mouth, 
which we fhould, on fuch an occaGon, have chofen ourfelves. 
When afietled vpith anger or refentment, we always defcrt the 
proper terms, for t'ncfe tropes which will convey our fentiment 
with moil afpericy. This is not the manner of our Lord, efpe- 
cialiy in cafes wherein he himfelf is tl;e direft object of eitlier 
injury or infult. Appolite thoughts, clothed in the plaiaeft ex- 
prelBons are nmch more charatterillic of his manner. When 
there appears feverity iri v/hat he fays, it will be found to anfe 
from the truth and pertinency of the thought, and not from a 
curious feleclion of cutting and reproachful words. This would 
be but ill adapted to the patience, the meeknefs, and the hunuli- 
iy of his character ; not to mention that it would be liidc of a 
piece with the account given of the refl 6f his fufferings. 

I know it may be objected, that the rebuke given to Peter, 
Matt. xvi. 23. Git thee behind me^ Satan, is conceived in terms 
f'> har(h, though the provocation was far from being eq^ual. The 



anfvver is much the fame in regard to both. Satan, though con- 
ceived by us as a proper name, was an appellative in the lan- 
guage ipoken by our Lord ; for, from the Hebrew it pafled into 
the Syriac, and fignified no more than adverfary or opponent. 
It is naturally jufl as applicable to human as to fpiritual agents, 
and is, in the Old Teftamcnt, often fo applied. 

§ 6. I acknowledge that the word haficXci, in the cafe tinder 
examination, is to be underftood as ufed in the fame latitude 
with the Hebrew Satan, which, though commonly interpreted 
by the Seventy J<i«,3<)>.o?, is fometimes rendered j^-i.^auAo?, injidia- 
tor^ and may be here fitly tranlhted into Englilh, either ^jj/ or 
informer. The Scribes and Pharifees, in confequence of their 
knowledge of the oppoGtion between our Lord's do£lrine and 
theirs, had conceived an envy of him, which fettled into malice 
and hatred, iDforauch that they needed no accufer. But though 
Jadas did not properly accufe his Mailer to them as a criminal, 
the purpofe which he engaged to the Scribes, the chief priefts, 
and the elders, to execute, was to obferve his motions, and in- 
form them v.-hen and where he mught be apprehended privately 
without tumult, and to conduft their fervants to the place. The 
term ufed was therefore pertinent, but father foft than fevere. 
He calls him barely yj^-j or informer ^ whom he might have called 
traitor and perfidious. 

§ 7. It is now proper to enquire, fecondly, into the ufe that 
has been made of the terms J«i|£*&'» and 5a{<^ov/<j». Firft, as to the 
word S<is,^«c.», it occurs only five times in the New Teftament, 
once in each of the three Gofpels, Matthew, Mark, and Luke, 
and twice in the Apocalypfe. It is remarkable, that in the 
three Gofpels it refers to the fame poirefTion, to wit, that of the 
furious man in the country of the Gadarenes, W'ho haunted the 
fepulchres. There does not, however, feem to be any material 
diiFerence in this application from that of the diminutive 'hM^ionnv^ 
which is alfo ufed by Luke in relation to the fame demoniac. 

§ 8. A«/(t««v*e)i occurs frequently in the Gofpels, and always in 
reference to poffeffions real or fuppofed. But the word '^m.^oXoi; 
is never fo applied. The ufe of the term ^xi^wntt is as coullantly 
indefinite, as the term ^iaficXo? is definite. Not but that it is 
fometimes attended with the article ; but that is only when the 
ordinary rules of compofition require that the article be ufed even 
of a term, that is ftriftly indefinite. Thus, when a poffeffion is 
firft named, it is called fimply ^nt^'.uoi, a demon^ or Trnvf^x etxc.Bx^- 
Tcv, an unclean fpirit^ never t* ^xtf^cnei or t« vnufta xKotBa^rov. " But 
when, in the progrefs of the ftory, mention is again made of the 
fame demon, he is Ilyled to ^xt^cnev the demon, namely that alrea- 
dy fpoken of. And in Englilh, as well as Greek, this is the 
ufage in regard to all indefinites. Further, the plural iuifioiue. oc- 
curs frequently applied to the fame order of beings with the An- 


^ular. But what fets the diiFerence of fignification in the cleared 
light is that^, though both words, 3<a:^«A»? and ^aty-wn, occur often 
in the Septuagint, they are invariably uled for tranfiaung diffe- 
rent Hebrew words. A<«3aXej is always in Hebrew either ")>' 
tfar, enemy ^ or tt^!i^ Satan, odverfary, words never tranilated 
dtuuDuat. This word, on the contrary, is made to esprefs iome 
Hebrew term! fignifying idol, pagan deity, apparition, or what 
fome render fatyr. What the precife idea of the demons^ to 
whom pofllfTions wer£ afcribed, then was, it would perhaps be 
impoflible for us with anr certainty to sffirm ; but as it is evi- 
dent that the two words, 'hmlaXti and Jajtsoway, are not once con- 
founded, though the firft occurs in the New Teliarnent upwards 
of thirty times, and the fecond about fixty, they can, by no jutl 
rale of interpretation, be rendered by the fame term. PoITefTions 
are never attributed to the being termed l oj«.3aA«?. Nor are iis 
authority and dominion ever afcribed to ^xiuoncc : nay, when the 
difcriminating appellations of the devil are cccafionaliy mention- 
ed, ^xi/^Hot is never given as one. Thus he is called not only 

9 2uli2»X0i, but 'HOtfi"'-.-, 9 TfiiOX^'ill, XITi^tKi?, 9 C-XrXVX?, t 0(XKU1 fiiyx^, 

o 6^(? 7rx?.xtci, ciey^uf in K»<rf/.is t»tk, « a^x"" '"''' s|oy~'*J TV at^o^, and 
s ^ioi T» xiu»»i TKTK, that is, the dtvil^ the cvii oie, the tempter, the 
odverfary^ (this lad word anfwers both to « au'-;3««a?, and a <rzTxix?y 
■which cannot be tranilated differently), the great dragon, the old 
ferpent, the prince of this world, the prince of the povjer of the 
air, and the god of thii world But there is no fuch being as 
Ta cjj;i44><t)', ihe appellation 'oa.:u.r,r.» being common to multitudes, 
whilil the other is always reprefented as a fingular being, the 
only one of his kind. Not that the Jewifh notion of the devil 
had any refemblance to what the Perfians fir(l, and the Manicheans 
afterwards, called the evil principle, which they made in fome 
fort co-ordinate with God, and the firft fource of all evil, as the 
other is of good, tor the devil, in the Jewifli fvftem, was a crea- 
ture as much as any other being in the univerfe, and as liable to 
be controlled by omnipotence, an attribute which they afcribed 
to God alone. But (till rhe devil is fpoken of as only one ; and 
other beings, however bad, are never confounded with him. 

§ 9. I know but two palTdges of the hiitorv that have the ap- 
pearance of exceptions from this remark. One is, that wherein 
our Lord, when accufed of cafling out demons by the prince of 
demons, fays in return. How can Satan cafl out Satan ? Mark 
iii. 23. There is no doubt that a Ssdr^if*? and a A<a,5aAej are the 
fame. Here then, fay the objedlors, t'le former of thefe names is 
applied to 5;«<^a><:«, which feems to fliew an intercommunity of 
names. Yet it mull: be obferved, that this of Satan is introdu- 
ced only in the way of illuftration by fimilitude, as the divifions 
in kingdoms and families alfo are. The utmoft that can be de- 
duced from fuch an example is, that they are malignant beings 

Vol. I, Y a^ 


as well as he, engaged in the fame bad caufe, and perhaps of the 
nunnber of thofe called his angels, and made to ferve as his in<. 
ftruments. But this is no evidence that he and they are the 
lame. The other paflage is in Luke, chap. xiii. 11. where we 
have an account of the cure of a woman, who had been bowed 
down for eighteen years. She is faid to have had a (pirit of in- 
firmity ; and our Lord himfelf fays that Satan had bound her, 
ver. 16. But let it be obferved, firft, that nothing is faid that 
implies pofleffion. She is nor called 3«j^ov<^a,K-v)i, a demoniac. 
Our Saviour is not fa'd to difpoffefs the demon, but to loofe her 
from her infirmity ; fecondly, that it is a common idiom among 
the Jews, to put fpirit bt^fore any quality afcribed to a perfon, 
whether it be good or bad, mental or corporeal. Thus the fpi- 
rit of fear, the fpirit of meeknefs, the fpirit of flumber, the fpi- 
rit of jealoufy, are ufed to exprefs habitual fear, &.c. : thirdly, 
that the afcrilaing of her difeafe to Satan, does not imply poffef- 
fion. The former is frequent, even where there is no infinuation 
of the latter. All the difeafed whom our Lord healed, are faid 
to have been opprefled by the devil, «5r« rei; hxlioXov, A6ls x. 38. 
All Job's aiBidtions are afcribed to Satan as the caufe, Job i, ii^ 
yet Job is no where reprefented as a demoniac. 

§10. A late learned and ingenious author *, has written an 
elaborate differtation to evince, that there was no real polTcffion 
in the demoniacs mentioned in the ^ofpel ; but that the (tyle 
there employed was adopted merely in conformity to popular 
prejudices, and ufed of a natural dileal'e. His hypothefis is by 
no means neceffary for fupportlng the diflinftion which I have 
been illuftiating, and which is founded purely on Scriptural 
ufage. Concerning his dodrine, 1 lliali only fay in palling that, 
if there had been no more to urge from facred writ in favour of 
the common opinion, than the name ^ctif^ovi^o^svai, or even the 
phrafes ^xiy.ojiov i-/,iiv, m/ixXXsty, &c. I fhould have thought his ex- 
planation at lealt no^ improbable. But when I find mention 
made of the number of demons in particular pofllflions, their 
aftions fo exprefsly diftinguiihed from thofe of the man poflViVed, 
converfations held by the former in regard to the difpofal of them 
after their expulfion, and accounts given how they were aftually 
difpofed of; when I find defires and pailions afcribed peculiarly 
to them, and fimilitudes taken from the conduft which they 
ufually obferve ; it is impofiible for me to deny their exiftence, 
without admitting tliat the facred hiftoiians were either deceived 
themfelves in regard to them, or intended to deceive their read- 
ers. Nay, if they were faithful hiftorians, this refleftion, 1 am 
afraid, will ftrike ftill deeper. But this only by the way. To 
inter farther into the quellion here, would be foreign to my pur- 

* Dr Farmer. 


pofe. The reader of that performance, which is written very 
plaufiblv, will judge for himfelf. 

§ 11. I obferve further that, though we cannot difcover, with 
certaitity, from all that is faid in the gofpel concerning poffeflion, 
whether the demons were conceived to be the ghofts of wicked 
men decealed, or lapfed angels, or {as wzs the opinion of feme 
early Chrillian WTiters *) the mongrel breed of certain angels 
(whom they uuderftood by the fons of God mentioned in Ge- 
nefis, ch. vi. 2 ) and of the daughters of men ; it is plain they 
were conceived to be malignant fpirits. They are exhibited as 
the caufes of the moft direfal calamities to the unhappy perfons 
whom they polTefs, dumbnefs, deafnefs, madnefs, palfy, epilepfy, 
and the like. The defcriptive titles given them, always denote 
fome ill quality or other, Moft frequently th-y are called 
•xvivfidTct tiKitBxpret, unclean fpirits, fometimes ■jtnv'u.ctrx jremg*, tna- 
I'lgn fpirits. They are reprefented as confcious that they are 
doomed to mifery and torments, though their punifhment be for 
a while fufpended. Art thou come hither, (itKi-xTiTcti mx?, to tor- 
ment Ui before the time ? Matt viii. 29. 

§ 12. But, though this is the charader of thofe demons who 
were diflodged by our Lord out of the bodies of men and wometi 
poirefled by them, it does not follow that the word demon always 
conveys this bad fenfe, even in the New Teftament. This iia- 
ving been a word much in ufe among the heathen, from whom, 
the Hellenift Jews firft borrowed it, it is reafonabe to txpeft 
that, when it is ufed in fpeaking of Pagans, their cuftoms, wor- 
fhip, and opinions, more efpecially when Pagans are reprefented 
as employing the term, the fenfe Ibould be that which is con- 
formable, or nearly fo, to clsfEcal ufe. Now, in claffical ufe, 
the word fignified a divine being, though not in the highttt order 
of their divinities, and therefore fuppofed not equivalent to ©£«;, 
but fuperior to human, and confequently, by the maxims of their 
theology, a proper objefl: of adoration. Though they common- 
ly ufed the term in a good fenfe, they did not fo always. They 
had evil demons as well as good. Juxta ufurpatam, fays Calci- 
dias, penes Gro'cos loguendi corfustudinem tarn fanBi funt dee- 
mones quam proffi efl infidi. But when no bad quality is af- 
cribed to the demon or demons fpoken of, and nothing affirmed 
that implies it, the acceptation of the term in Pagan writers is 
generally favourable. Who has not heard of the demon of So- 
crates ? 

§ 13. In this way the word is to be underftood in the only 
paffage of the Afts where it occurs, Afts xvii. 18. Oi Se, Ssr^y 
euifiovfut Jox£* x-uTcc/yiMvi it>xi. Others faid^i he fc€v:eth to he a fetter 
forth of fir an ge gods. So our trauflators render it. Tht rtafon 
of this verdici is added, becaufe he preached to them fefus and 

« Jaft. M» Apol. I. 


the refurre£iion, ni Ir.ony x«« rr.i Avcca-Tcanv. Theyfuppofed the f'or- 
mer to be a male, and the latter a female divinity ; for it was 
cuftomary with them to deify abftra6l qualities, making them 
either g-ods or gcddefies, as fuited the gender of the name. This, 
if 1 remember right, is the only paflage in the New Teftamenr, 
in which ^xif*otix is not rendered devils, but gods. If our tran- 
flators had adhered to their method of rendering this word in 
every other inftance, and faid, He feenieth to he a fetter forth of 
Jirange devils, they would have j^rofsly perverted the fenie of the 
paffage. Now, this may fugged a fulpicion of the impropriety 
of this verfion of the word any where, but efpecially where it 
relates to the objects of worlhip among the Pagans, with whom, 
the term, when unaccompanied with a bad epithet, or any thing 
in the context that fixed the application to evil fpirits, was al- 
ways employed in a good fenle. 

§ 14. There is a famous pafiage to this purpofe in the writ« 
ings of the Apolile Paul, 1 Cor. x. 20, 21. on which 1 Ihall lay 
before the reader a few obfervations. 'a %u rot. iivn, ^««^o»<«<f %u, 

TnjPioy Yivpiav Ttysiy KXt ar«T«^«a» octiuoyiuy cv tfy»«e<r,% TpctTri^rn K.v^tov f*iTi^Ui, 

Ktit T^ttT^-i^/.i #«.A4ov/<y». In the Eiiglilh Bible thus rendered, Ihe 
things which the Gentiles facr^fice^ they facrifice to devih and not 
to God i and I would not that ye fhould have felloufhip xvitb 
devils. Ye cannot drink the cup of (he Lord and the cup of de- 
vils : ITe cannot be partakers of the Lord's tnhle and the table oj 
devils. PafSng the impropriety, fo often obferved above, of re- 
prefenting a name as common to many, which Scripture has in- 
variably appropriated to one, the fentiment itfelf expreffed by 
our tranllators, that the Gentiles facrifice to devils, is not juft, 
■whether we confider the thing abftradily, or in relation to the in- 
tention of the worihippers. 

Confidered abllractly, the pagan worflaip and facrifices were 
not offered to God, whom they knew not, and to whofe charac- 
ter and attributes there was nothing in the popular creed (I 
fpeak not of philofophers) that bore the leaft affinity. But as 
little were they offered to that being, whom Chriilians and Jews 
call the devil or Satan, with whofe charafter and hiftory they 
■were equally unacquainted. Nor is it enough to fa}', that the char- 
afters of their deities were often fo bad. that they partook more 
of the diabolical nature than of the divine. That is indeed true, 
and therefore evil fpirits are not underdood as excluded from the 
import of the term ^xiy-onx ; but as little, on the other hand, 
ought that term to be confined to fuch. The proper notion is, 
beings, in refpect of power, (whatever be their other qualities} 
fuperior to human, but inferior to that which we Chriftians com- 
prehend under the term divine. For this reafon even the higher 
orders of the heathen divinities, thofe whom they Ityled Dii vta~ 



forum gentium^ are included in the Apoftle's declaration. For, 
though thev more rarely applied to luch the terms "hxt^ut and 
lettfconci^ the power afcribed to them by their votaries, was infi- 
nitely (hort of omnipotence, as indeed all their other attributes 
were flioit of the divine perfcflions. Paul acknowledged no 
God but one, of whom the gentiles were ignorant, and to whom, 
therefore, they could not offer facrifice. AH beings of a fubordi- 
nate nature, however much they might be accounted fupericr to 
us, he claffes under the fame general name. * But can Jupiter 

* himfelf be included in this defcription, Jupiter to whom al- 

* mighty power and fuprerae dominion are attributed, and who 

* is ftyled by the poets. The father of gods and men, the great- 

* efl and beft of beings f^ The attributes fomefimes given to Ju- 
piter, muft be coniidered as words merely compiimental and adu- 
latory ; they being utterly inconfiftent with the accounts which 
the fame perfons give of his origin and hiflory. They are like 
the titles with which earthly potentates are faluted by their flat- 
terers, when ftyled fathers of their country, abfolute lords of 
earth and ocean. De la Motte's reply to Madam Dacier*, is here 
very appofite : *' What ! Could Homer ferioufiy believe Jupiter 
** to be the creator of gods and men ? Could he think him the 
** father of his own father Saturn, whom he drove out of heaven, 
** or of Juno his filler, and his wife ; of Neptune and Pluto his 
** brothers, or of the nymphs, who had the charge of him in his 
«* childhood ; or of the giants who made war upon him, and 
** would have dethroned him, if they had been then arrived at 
«* the age of manhood ? Kaw well his aftions jullify the Latin 
«• epithets, optimus, maximua, fo often given him, all the world 
" knows." Jupiter has, tlierefore, no right to be held an ex- 
ception, but is, with ftrift propriety, comprehended in the came 
atctfceyix attributed, by the ApoiHe, to all the heathen gods. But 
^xift.6noy^ as we have feen, is one thing, and ^ix/ioXai is another. 
Now, if a fuppofed refemblance, in diipofition, between the hea- 
then gods and the devil, were a fufficient foundation for what is 
affirmed in the common verfion ; any vicious perfon of whom 
mention is made in hiilor)-, fuch as Cain, Ham, Jezebel, in 
whom one might fancy a likeuefs in charafter or actions to feme 
divinities of the heathen, might, with enual propriety as the de- 
vil, be called the objects of their adoration. 

5 15. There are two paflages in the Old Teftaraent, one 
in the Pentateuch, Dcut. xxxii. 17. the other in the Plalms, 
xcvi. 5. to which, particularly the fird, the Apoftle had doubt- 
lefs an allufion. In both, the term uled bv the Septuagint is 
3«;^av;« : the Hebrew term is not the fame in both places, but 
in neither is it a word which is ever tranflated ^i.t.SsAo? by the 
Seventy. In the Pfalm referred to, the term in the original, is 

• De la Critique ; feconde partie. Des Dieux. 


that which is commonly rendered idols. Now, in regard to idols, 
the Apoftle had faid in the fame epiftle, i Cor. viii, 4. that an 
idol is nothing in the world ; in other words, is the reprefentation 
of no real exiftence in the univerfe, though it may be the repre- 
fentation of an imaginary being. It is as much as to fay, Jupi- 
ter, and Juno, and Saturn, and all the reft of the heathen gods, 
as delineated by the poets and mythologifts, are nonentities, the 
mere creatures of imagination. Now, if an idol reprefent no 
real being, it does not reprefent the devil, whofe exiftence is, on 
the Chriftian hypothefis, beyond a queftion. But I am aware of 
the obje£lion that, if idols reprefent no real beings, they either 
do not repi'efent demons, or demons are not real beings. I an- 
fwer, it is true, that no individual demons, actually exifting, are 
properly reprefented by their idols ; nevertheleis, thefe may, 
with ftrift juftice, be faid to reprefent the genus or kind, tlia? is, 
beings intermediate between God and man, lefs than the former, 
greater than the latter. For to all who come under this defcrip- 
tion, real or imaginary, good or bad, the name demons is promif- 
cuoufly given. The reality of fuch intermediate orders of beings, 
revelation every where fuppofes, and rational theifm does not 
contradidl. Now, it is to the kind expreffed in the definition now 
given, that the pagan deities are reprefented as correfponding, 
and not individually to particular demons aftually exifting. To 
fay, therefore, that the Gentiles facrifice to demons, is no more 
than to fay, that they facrifice to beings which, whether real, or 
imaginary, we perceive, from their own accounts of them, to be 
below the fupreme. " What are men ?" fays a dialogift in Lucian*, 
The anfwer is, " Mortal gods. What are gods? Immortal men." 
In fa£l, immortality was almoft the only diftin£lion between 

§ 16. This leads dire£tly to the examination of the juftnefs 
of the fentiment, that the gentiles facrifice to devils, in the fecond 
view of it that was fuggefted, or confidercd in relation to the 
ideas and intentions of the worfliippers themfelves, to which 
alone, in my apprehenfion, the apoftle here alludes. Firft then, 
we may juftly fay, that their facrifices were not offered to God ; 
for, however much they might ule the name of God, the inten- 
tion is to be judged, not by the name, but by the meaning af- 
fixed to it. Now, fuch a being as the eternal, unoriginated. im- 
mutable, Creator and Ruler of the world, they had not in all 
their fyftem, and therefore did not adore. For this reafon. they 
are not unjuftly termed, by the fame Apoftle, «$£««, atheijls, Eph. 
ii. 2. without God, that is, without the knowledge, and, confe- 
quently, the belief and worftiip, of him who alone is God. But 
their' facrifices and devotions were prefented to beings, to whom 


* Vitarum auftio. T« ^«» «'« «vS§«7re«j ^ici ^ir,7ot. r* out «« ^'M ; 


they themfelves afcribed a charadler infinitely inferior to what 
we know to belong to the " true God, of whom they were ig- 

A late philofopher, who will not be fufpecled of partiality to 
the fentitnents of an Apoiilf , or of the weaknefs of a bias in fa- 
vour of Chriilianitj, has, neverthelefs, in this inftance, adopted 
the ideas of the facred author, and ha» not hefitated to pronounce 
the pagans * a kind offuperjiuious atbeijif, who acknowledged no 
Being that correfponds to our idea of a deity. Beiides, a great 
part of the heathen worltip was confeffedly paid to the ghofts of 
departed heroes, of conquerors, and potentates, and of the inven- 
tors of arts, whom popular fuperflition, after difguiiing their hi- 
iLory with fables and abfurditles, had blindly deihed. Now, to 
all fuch beings, they themfelves, as well as the Jews, affigned 
the name ^xt^tux. Further, it deferves our notice, that the Apuf- 
tle is not writing here to Hebrews, but to Greeks ; and that be 
himfelf, being- a native of a Grecian city, knew perfectly the 
fenfe that was affixed by them to the word ^xi^mx. If, there- 
fore, he had intended to fuggeft, that they were all malignant 
beings to whom their devotions were addreffed, he would never 
have ufed the general term, which he knew they commonly un- 
derftood in a more favourable fenfe. In that cafe, he would 
have faid KXKc^'M^aa-i B'vu, or fomething equivalent. 

§ 17. Howevi^r much, therefore, the gentiles might have dif- 
puted the truth of the firft part of the Apoitle's alTertion, that 
they did not cffc;r facrifics to God, becaufe they were not feiiiible 
of their own ignorance on this article, the latter part of the afier- 
tion they would have readily admitted, that they facrificed to de- 
mons, fuch as the fpirits of heroes and heroines deceafed, and other 
beings conceived fuperior to mere mortals. This charge thev 
themfelves would not have pretended to be either injurious or 
untrue. The very paffage formerly quoted from the Atis, 
where they call Jefus and the refurre£lion^ra«^^ demom, ^tvx ia- 
ty.cuu, fhews, that there were known demons, yy^^tfAx iutfityisc, to 
whofe fervice they were accuflomed. We cannot worlhip whom 
we do not mean to worfliip. There is an inconfiftenc}'- in the 
ideas. They could, therefore, no more be faid to have worlhip- 
ed the devil, as we Chriftians underftand the term, than thej 
could be faid to have worfhipped the cannibals of New Zealand, 
becaufe they had no more conception of the one than of the 
other. However much it may be in the fpirit of theological con- 
trovertilts, to ufe amplifications irreconcileable with truth and 
juftice, in order to render an adverfary odious ; this manner is 
not in the fpirit of the facred penmen. Some appearances of the 
polemic temper there are in mofl verfions of the New Teftament, 
-A'hich will be found to fpring entirely from tranflators. The 

♦ Natural Hiftory of Religion. Sea. IV, 


popular dodrine has indeed been adopted by Milton, and greatly 
<;mbelliftjed in his incomparable po^m. But it is not from the 
fiftions of poets that we muft draw the principles of religion. 

§ 1 8. I muft likewife own that when, in the paflarje to the 
Corinthians under examination, we render ^eciiienx demom^ we 
flill esprefs the fentiment more harflily than it is m the original, 
becaufe the word was oftea then ufed in a good fenfe, or at leaft, 
not as we Chriftiarjs ufe it at prefent, invariably in a bad fenfe. 
One way, however, of reftoring it to its proper import, is to 
preferve facredly the diftinclion, which hoi} writ fo plainly au- 
thorifes, arid never to confound terms as fynonymous, which are 
■there never confounded. 

§ 19. The above obfervations may ferve alfo to illuftrate a 
TJOtcd paffage in the i\pocalyple. Rev. ix. 2C. : The reft of the 
men which ivere not killed by thefe plagues, yet repented not of 
the "works of their hands, that they Jhould not nvor/Jjip devils^ 
^xiuovict, and idols of gold and fiver, and braf, and flone. and of 
ivood, ivhich neither can /ee, nor hear, nor walk. It is equally 
roanifefl here, as in the former example, that the word render- 
ed devils, ought to have been demons ; nor is it lefs manifeft, 
that every being who is not the one true God, hovvever much 
conceived to be fuperi'.r to us, is, v^hether good or bad, hero or 
heroine, demigod or dem;goddefs, angtl or departed fpirit, fainf 
or finner, real or imaginary, in the clafs comprized under the 
name demons. And the worfhip of them is as much demonolatry 
(if ye will admit the word) as the worQiip of Jupiter, Mars and 
Minerva. This may ferve to fhew, of how much confequence 
it is to attend, with accuracy,, to the differences to be found in 
the application of words. It is only thereby that we can learn 
their exaft import, and be qualified to judge both of the fubjeft, 
and of the completion r>l Icriptural prophecies. As to the wor- 
{hip of the devil rav Sw/St^iet;, nothing can be clearer than that, in 
Scripture, no pagans are charged with it ; and as to the worfnip 
tut %*ifMiiuv, beings fubordinate to the fupreme, it may be confi- 
dered far we can with juftice fay, that the pagans are pecu- 
liarly ciiargeable. It will defer ve to be remarked, by the way, 
that the only difference between demonolatry and idolatry ap- 
pears to be, that the firft regards the objt-£l of worfhip, the fe- 
cond the mode. The former is a violation of the firft command- 
ment, the latter of the fecond. The connexion, however, is fo 
intimate between them, that they have rarely, if ever, beea 
found feparate. 

\ 20. There are only two other pafTages wherein the word 

"iaufMitx occurs in the New T' (lament, in both which there is fome 

difficulty. One is, where Paul warns Timothy, i Ep. iv. 1. of 

thofe who would make a defeftion from the faith, paving heed to 

feducing fpirits^ and doBrines of devils^ ^ihxffKa,>Mtii Ixif^ciuH^ <^oc- 



trines of demons. It ii hard to fay whether, by this phrafe, we are 
to undeiitand dodlrines fuggelted by demons, or dodiines concern- 
ing demons. The form of expreflion will fupport either mean- 
ing. If the firft, the word demons is taken in a bad fenfe, for 
ghofts, or other fpirits of a malignant character, the common ac- 
ceptation of the word in the Gofpels, where an agency on hu- 
man beings is afcribed to them. The connection of the words, 
doBrines of demcns^ with yf£^«fi/7^y/)/rzVj, immediately preceding, 
gives fome plaufibility to this interpretation. If the fecond, 
there is reafon to think, that it is ufed more extenlively, for all 
thofe beings, inferior to God, who are made objeds of adoration. 
In this cafe, the words foretel either a total apoftafy from the 
faith of the Gofpel, to heathen demonology, commonly called 
mythology, or a defection from the purity of its dodtrine, by ad- 
mitting an unnatural mixture of heathenifh abfurdities. ThaE 
this is his meaning, is tendered not improbable, by its being 
conne6led with other corruptions of the Chriftian doctrine, alfo 
introduced iome ages after the times of the Apoftles, and im- 
plied in the words, forbidding to mnrry^ and commanding to ah- 
jlain from meats, \^c. But in regard to this queftion, 1 do not 
pretend to decide. 

§ 21. The other paffage is in the Epiille of James, ch. ii. 19, 
The whole verfe iti the common verfion runs thus : Thou belieV'- 
eji that there is one God ; thou doji luell : the devi/s aljo believe 
and tremble : r* ^xtftonx, the demons. That the Apoftle here 
means. the fpirits of wicked men deceafed, wliich (in Jewilh ufe, 
as we learn from Jofephus) were commonly llyled demons, 
there is no reafon to queflion. The only points of which their 
belief is afferted, are the being and the unity of the Godhead, 
The epithet ^xt/atyituhi is accordingly ufed in a bad fenfe in this 
£piftle, ch. iii. 15. where that wifdom which produceth envy 
and contention, is ftyled earthly, fenfual, devi/ijh^ ^xi/^ohx^-zk. de- 

§ 22. The only other words in the New Teilament, conneft- 
cd with ^xi/^om. are tins-t^etiuu)) and ^ufj-i^atuovia. Each occurs only 
once. The former is rendered, by our tranflators, fuperjiitious, 
the \a.ner^ /uperjiition. Neither of them is found in the Septua- 
gint, or the Apocrypha, or in any part of the New Teftament, 
except the Adls of the Apoftles. We may readily believe, that 
the Jews, in fpeaking of their own religion, would avoid the ufe 
of terms bearing fo manifett an allufion to a fpecies of worfliip 
which it condemns. The only place where the term Js(T(J«<_£t»v 
occurs, is Paul's fpeech in the Areopagus at Athens, It is ap- 
plied by him to the Athcniens, who were pagans. A»5*-:? A3i)»(««c<, 
fays he, kxtx Trxirx a? ^u<rihecifMH<^iaovg iiuai ^lueu^ A(3s xvii. 22. ; 
in the common verfion. Ye men of /ithem, I perceive that in all 
things ye are too fiiper^itious. The Englill^. e-xprilTion is, in my 

^■^oi" I- Z opinio-n, 


opinion, much hai fher than the Greek. As the word no where 
elfe occurs in the facred writings, our only rule for afcertaining 
its import is the claffical application. Befides, the Apoftle, be- 
ing a native of a Grecian city, well knew in what fenfe his 
bearers would underliand the term. If then he fpoke to be un- 
derftood, we muft fuppcfe that he employed his vTords according 
to their current value in the place. Now, it is plain that, in 
the claffical ufe, a-icivxiuuv has not a bad meaning, unlefs there be 
foniethuig in the context that leads us to an unfavourable inter- 
pretation. Am }'. ^iic-i^ccu'.av ^y ; He was always a religicus man, 
fays Xenophon of Agelilaus, when he is plainly commending 
him. Favorinus explains the word bv i iva&Ai pious ; and gives 
mhcifiua as the common import of Ssirj^autev/^, which he refolves 
mto 9o/3o? Qitv yi^xiftove^?, thejear of God, or of demons. 

Now, it has been fliovvn, that among pagans, in the common 
acceptation of 5«/ttwv, the meaning was favourable. It is acknow- 
ledged that oiitrthctiuu* was alfo fufceptible of a bad meaning, an- 
Ivvering to our word ft/perj^ttiouf. Further, I readily admit that 
the Apoftle would not probably have ufed that term in fpeaking 
of either Jews or Ghriftians, becaufe he did not confider the 
^etifiem as objefts of their veneration. At the fame time, he 
knew, that in addrefling the Athenians, he employed a term 
which could not be oifenfive to them. Indeed, his manner of 
introducing his fubjeft, fhews a defire of foftening the difappro- 
bation which his words imply, and from which he took occafion 
to expound the principles of a more fublime theology. The 
Athenians gloried in the chara£ler of being more religious hitrt- 
ixifioyif-^oi^ than any other Grecian Hate. Paul's concefBon of 
this point in their favour, would rather gratify than offend them, 
and would ferve to alleviate the cenfure of carrying their religion 
to excefs. Every thing, in the turn of his expreffion, (hews that 
it was his intention to tell them, in the mildeft terms, what he 
found cenfurable in their devotion, and thence to take occafion of 
preaching to them the only true God. Accordingly, he em-- 
ployed a word which he knew no pagan could take amifs ; and 
to denote the excefs with which he thought them chargeable, he 
chofe to ufe the comparative degree, which was the gentleft man- 
ner of doing it. Nay, he even abates the import of the compa- 
rative, by the particle a>c. Beza has properly rendered the ex- 
preffion, (^uaji religiofores. The verhon, too fuperftitious^ not 
only deviates from the intention of the fpeaker, but includes a 
grofs impropriety, as it implies that it is right to be fuperftitious 
to a certain degree, and that the error lies in exceeding that de- 
gree ; whereas, in the univerfal acceptation of the Zngiifh term, 
all fuperftition is excefs, and therefore faulty. 

As to the noun ^j/r/J«<jttoK«, in the only place of Scripture 
where it occurs, it is mentioned as ufed by a heathen, in relation 



to the Jewifli religion. Feftus, the prefident, when he acquaint- 
ed king Agrippa concerning Paul, at that time his prifoner, favb 
that he found the accufation brought again (I him by his country- 
men, not to be fuch as he liad expefted, but to conlift in ^rjT.)/^xTJi 
r»ct viPi TUf t^iXf hi<riacciuav:i!s, in the Eugliln tranllation, certain quef- 
tions of their oun fuperjlition^ Ads xxv. 19. It was not unlike 
a Roman magiilrate to call the Jewifli religion Juperjiitiori. That 
the crentiles were accuftomed to ipeak of it contemptuouily, is no- 
torious. Bat it lliould be conlidiired, that Feftus was then ad- 
dreffing his difcourfe to king Agrippa, whom he knew to be a 
Jew, who had come to Cefarea to congvatulaie him, a:id to whom 
it appears, from the whole of the ftory, that Fclla<i meant to 
iliew the utmoft civility. It cannot then be imaginevj, that he 
would intentionally atlVont a vifitant of his rank, the ',vry puv- 
pufe of whofe vifit had been to do hmi honour on his propi^otion. 
That the ordinary import of the term was favourable, cannot b«. 
queftioned. Diodorus Siculus, fpeaking of the religious fervice 
performed by the high prielt, at which the kings of Egypt were 
obliged to be prefent, adds, Tuvra, SW^^tJev, «^rt //.vj j;j ?ii7.5«wov(«j 
axt ^io:piXr\ ,'2;oy ret ^c.rtXix Ti-eoT^iTTcuaoy '^. " Thefe things he did to 
*' excite the king to a devout and pious life." The word, there- 
fore, ought to have been rendered religion, according to its pri- 
mitive and moll ufual acceptation aoaong the Greeks. 

Bilhop Pierce is, for aught I know, fingular in thinking that 
■7/!? thxg diis-t^xi^cvm? ought to be tranflated of a private fuperf^ition, 
meaning the Chriilian doftrine taught by Paul. But of this ver- 
fion the words are evidently not fufceptible ; the only authority" 
alleged is Peter, who fays, (2 ep. i. 20.) ttxiju tt^o^/jtzix y^xpm ihxi 
ivtXva-iiai ov yi)iira.t, in the common tranflation. No prophecy of the 
Scripture is of any private interpretailoa. Admitting that this 
is a jull expreffion of the fenfe of that pallage, the cafes are not 
parallel. 1^(05 has there no article. If the import of tlSioq in the 
other place were private, the meaning of the phrafe muil not be 
a but the private fuperftition, or the private rciigion. Had we 
any evidence that this defignation had been given to Chriftiar.ity 
in the times of the apoftles, there might be fome plaufibiiity in 
the conje6ture. But there is no trace of fuch a defignation ; and 
indeed it would have been exceedingly improper as applied to a 
doctrine, which was preached publicly every where, and of whofe 
minifters, both Jews and Pagans, complained that they turned 
the world uplide down. There are few words in the New Tef- 
tament more common than i^ic;, but there is not a linglc inftance 
wherein it is accompanied with the article, that can be rendered 
otherwife than his own, her own, or their own. 

§ 23. So much for the diftinclion uniformly obferved in Scrip- 
ture between the words S;«5o^aj and 0xt^ivi<» -, to which I ihall 

* Lib. i' 


only add, that in the ancient Syriac verfion, thefe names are al- 
ways duly diftinguilhed. The words employed in tranflating one 
of them are never ufed in rendering the other ; and in all the 
Latin tranflations I have feen, ancient and modern, Popilh and 
Proteftant, this diilindlioa is carefully obferved. It is obferved 
alfo in Diodati's Italian verlion, and moft of the late French ver- 
iions But in Luther's German tranflation, the Geneva French, 
and the common Englilh, the words are confounded in the man- 
ner above obferved. Some of the later Englifh tranflations have 
corrected this error, and fome have implicitly followed the eom- 
mon verfion. 


'a5))j and ymvx. 

X HE next example I fhall produce of words in which, though 
commonly tranflated by the fame Englifh term, there is a real 
diiFerence of fignification, fliall be ci.h,<; and ysj>v«, in the common 
verfion rendered helL That ynwa is employed in the New Tef- 
tament to denote the place of future puniftiment, prepared for 
the devil and his angels, is indifputable. In the Old Tellament, 
we do not find this place in the fame manner mentioned. Ac- 
cordingly the word ynvvx does not occur in tlie Septuagint. It is 
not a Greek word, and confequently not to be found in the Gre- 
cian claffics. It is Qriginally a compound of the two Hebrew 
words DJn J<0 ge hinnotn^ the valley of Hinnom, a place near 
Jerufalem, of which we hear firll in the Book of Jolhua, xv. 8. 
It was there that the cruel facrifices of children were made by 
fire to Moloch, the Ammonitifli idol, a Chron. xxxiii. 6. The 
place was alfo called Tophet, 2 Kings xxiii. 10. and that, as is 
fuppofed, from the noife of drums, Tpph fignifying a drum, a 
noife raifed on purpofe to drown the cries of the helplefs infants. 
As this place was, in procefs of time, confidered as an emblem 
of hell, or the place of torment referved for the punifliment of 
the wicked in a future ft 'te, the name Tophet came gradually to 
be ufed in this fenfe, and at length to be confined to it. This is 
the fenfe, if I mift.ake not, in which gehenna^ a fynonymous term, 
is always to be underftood in the New Teft:ament, where it oc- 
curs juft twelve times. In ten of thefe there can be no doubt ; 
in the other two, the expreffion is figurative ; but it fcarcely will 
admit a queftion, that the figure is taken from that flate of mi- 
fery which awaits the impenitent. Thus the Pharifees are faid 
to make the profelyte, whom they compafs fea and land to gain, 



twofold more a child of hell, vun yayyta, than themfelves, Matt, 
xxiii. 15. an expreffion both limilar in form, and equivalent in 
fignification, to liog ^iu.8»\ou, Jon of the dcvU, and wo? ths u-roXitct?, 
[on of perdition. In the other paffage an unruly tongue is faid 
CO be Jet on fire of hell, James iii. 6. ipAsyi^o^£v>i hvo rm y5s»nj?. 
Thefe two cannot be conlidered as exceptions, it being the mani- 
feft intention of the writers in both to draw an illuftration of the 
fubjeft from that ftate of perfect wretchedncfs. 

§ 2. As to the word ahi, which occurs in eleven places of the 
New Teflament, and is rendered .6^// in all, except one, where it 
is tranflated grave, it is quite common in claffical authors, and 
frequently ufed by the Seventy in the tranfluion of the Old Tef- 
tament. In my judgment it ought never in Scripture to be ren- 
dered hell, at leaft in the fenfe wherein that word is now univer- 
fally underiiood by Chriftians. In the Old Tellament, the cor- 
refponding word is '^^^<t5^ Jheol, which fignifies the ftate of the 
de< d in general, without regard to the goodnefs or badnefs of the 
perfons, their happinefs or mifery. In tranflating that word, the 
Se\-enty have almoil invariably ufcd c^m. This word is alfo ufed 
fometimes in rendering the nearly fynonymous words or phrafes 
"n2 ipr, and "lO 'JI1J< abne hor, the pit^ and stones of the pit, 
n^O "^'S* tfal moth, the JJjades of death ^ HD^I dumeh, Jilence, 
The ftate is always reprefented under thole figures which fuggeft 
fomething dreadful, dark and filent, about which the moft prying 
eye, and liftening ear, can acquire no information. The term 
iJtif, hades, is well adapted to exprefs this idea. It was written 
anciently, as we learn from the poets (for what is called the po- 
etic, is nothing but the ancient dialetSl), «i§ii;, ah a privative ei 
ti^a -videOy and fignifies obfcure, hidden, invifible. To this the 
word hell in its primitiv^e lignification perfedlly correfponded. 
t'or, at firft, it denoted only what was fecret or concealed. This 
word is found with little variation of form, and preciiely in the 
fame meaning, in all the Teutonic dialedls *. 

But though our vi'ord hell, in its original fignification, was more 
adapted to exprefs the fenfe of uhi than of yunei, it is not fo 
now. When we fpeak as Chriftians, we always exprefs by it, 
the place of the punilhment of the wicked after the general judg. 
ment, as oppofed to heaven, the place of the reward of the right- 
eous. It is true, that in tranflating heathen poets, we retain the 
old fenfe of the word hell, which anfwers to the Latin orcus, cr 
rather injernus, as when we fpeak of the defcent of Eneas, or of 
Orpheus, into hell. Now the word infernut, in Latin, compre- 
hends the receptacle of all the dead, and contains both elyfium^ 
the place of the blefled, and tartarus the abode of the miferable. 
The term inferi^ comprehends all the inhabitants good and bad, 


* See Junius' Gotb'c GlofT.ry, fuLjoined to the Cod^x Argenleus, 'j:. 
the word bulyan. 


happy and wretched. The Latin words infernvs and inferni bear 
evident traces of the notion that the repofitory of the fouls of the 
departed is under ground. This appears alfo to have been the 
opinion of both Greeks and Hebrews, and indeed of all antiqui- 
ty. How far the ancient practice of burying the body may 
Lave contributed to produce this idea concerning the maiifivon of 
the ghofts of the deceafed, I ftiail not take upon me to fay ; but 
it is very plain, that neither in the Septuagint verfion of the Old 
Tellament, nor in the New, does the word <i5/)j convey the inear.- 
ing which the prefent Englifh word hcll^ ia the Chiillian ufage, 
always conveys to our minds. 

§ 3. It were endlefs to illuftrate this remark by an enumera- 
tion and examination of all the paffages in both Teftaments 
wherein the word is found. The attempt would be unnecelTary, 
as it is hardly now pretended by any critic, that this is the ac- 
ceptation of the term in the Old Tellament. Who, for exam- 
ple, would render the words of the venerable patriarch Jaccb, 
Gen. xxxvii. 35. when he was deceived by his fons into the 
opinion that his favourite child Jofeph had been devoured by a 
wild beaft, / will go down to hell to my fan mourning ? or the 
words which he ufed, ch. xlii. 38. when they expoiiulated with 
him about fending his youngeit fon Benjamin into Egypt along 
with them, Ye will bring down my grey hairs with Jorrow to 
hell ? Yet in both places the word, in the original, is Jheol, and 
in the verfion of the Seventy, hades. I fliall only add, that in 
the famous paffage from thePfalms, xvi. 10. quoted in the Adls 
of the Apodles, Ads ij. 27. of which 1 fhall have occafion to take 
notice afterwards, though the word is the fame both in Hebrew 
and in Greek, as in the two former quotations, and though it is 
in both places rendered hell in the common verfion, it would be 
abfurd to underiland it as denoting the place of the damned, 
whether the expreffion be interpreted literally of David the type, 
or of Jefus Chrift the antitype, agreeably to its principal and 
ultimate objeft. 

§ 4. But it anpears at prefent to be the prevailing opinion 
among critics, that the term, at leaft in the Old Teftament, means 
no more than "^Zip keber., grave or fepulchre. Of the truth of 
this opinion, after the raoft attentive, and, I think, impartial ex- 
amination, I am far from being convinced. At the fame time I 
am not infenfible of the weight which is given to that interpre- 
tation by fome great names in the learned world, particularly that 
of Father Simon, a man deeply verfed in oriental literature, who 
has exprefsly faid *, xXxztJheol fignifies, in the Hebrew of the Old 
Teftament, yf/jtz/f/jr^, and who has ftrenuoufly and repeatedly de- 
fended this fentiment againft Le Clerc, and others, who had at- 

* Hift. Crit. du N. T. ch. iz. 


Ucked it *. And fmce he feems even to challenge his oppo- 
aents to produce examples from the Old Teftament, wherein the 
word JIjcoI has tl^: fignificaticn which the^/ afcribe to it : I (liall 
here brieflj, with all the deference due to names fo reipeclable as 
thofe which appear on the oppoiite (id^, lay before the reader the 
refult of my inquiries upon the quetlion. 

§ 5. I freely acknowledge that, by tranflatlng (lieol the grave, 
the purport of the fentence is often expreiTed with fufticient clear- 
nefs. The example lall quoted from Genefis is an e\ idence. 
Ye will bring down riy grey hairs with forrow to the grave^ un- 
doubtedly gives the meaning of the lentencc in the original, not- 
withftanding that the Englifh word grave does not give the 
meaning of the Hebrew v\ovd Jhec/. This may at firll appear a 
paradox, but will not be found fo v/hen examined, Suppofe 
one, in relating the circumfiances of a friend's death, iliould laj, 
" This unlucky accident brought him to his flbroiid," another 
fhould fay, " It brought him to his coffin," a third, " It brought 
" him to his grave." The fame fentiment is eKpreffed by them 
all, and thefe plain words, " This accident proved the caufe of his 
" death," are equivalent to what was faid by every one of them. 
But is it jufl to infer thence that the Englilli words, Jhroud, coffi-n, 
grave, and death, are fynonymous terms ? It will not be pretend- 
ed. Yet I have not heard any argument ftronger tiian this, for 
accounting the Hebrew vioidsfieol and keher fynonymous. The 
cafes are entirely paralh 1. Ufed as tropes, they often no doubt 
are io. Who can queilion, that when there is any thing figura- 
tive in the exprelHon, the fenfe may be conveyed without the fi- 
gure, or by another figure ? And if fo, the figures or tropes, 
however diffcx'ent, may doubtlefs, in fuch application, be call- 
ed fynonymous to one another, and to the proper term. 

Now, if this holds of the tropes of the fame language, it holds 
aifo of thofe of diiferent languages. You may adopt a trope in 
tranflating, which does not literally anfwer to that of the origi- 
nal, and which, neverthelefs, conveys the fenfe of the original 
more juftly than the literal verfion would have done. But ir 
this cafe, though the whole fentence in the verfion correfponds to 
the v/hole fentence in the original, there is not the like corre- 
fpondence in the words taken feverally. Sometimes the reverfe 
happens, to wit, that every word of a fentence in the original, 
has a word exaftly correfponding in the verfion ; and yet the 
whole fentence in the one does not correfpond to the whole fen- 
tence in the other. The diiferent geniufes of different languages, 
render :t impollible to obtain always a correfpondence in both 
refpects. When it can be had only in one, the fentiment is al- 
ways to be preferred to the v.ords. For this reafon, 1 do no: 


* Reponfe alaDefcnfe des Seniiraens dt quelquei Theologiens de Hcl- 
iande, ch. xvi. 

184 r R E L 1 M 1 K A R y 

know how our traullators could have rendered Jheol in that paf- 
fage better than they have done. Taken by itlelf, we have no 
word in our language that anfwers to it. Th» Latm is, in this 
inftance, luckier ; as it fupplies a word perfectly equivalent to 
that of the facred penman, at the fame time that it juftly ex- 
prefles the fenfe of the whole. Such is the tranflation of the 
verfe in the Vulgate, Deducetis canos mtos cum dolore ad inferos. 
Now, though our word the grave, may anfwer fufficiently in fome 
cafes for exprelTing, not the import of the Hebrew word Jheoi, but 
the purport of the fentence, it gives, in other cafes, but a feeble, 
and fometimes an improper, verlion of the original. But this 
will be more evident afterwards. 

§ 6. Firft, in regard to the fituation of hades, it feems always 
to have been conceived by both Jews and Pagans, as in the lower 
parts of the earth, near its centre, as we fhould term it, or its 
foundation (according to >.he notions of the Hebrews, who knew 
nothing of its fpherical figure), and anfwering in depth to the 
vifible heavens in height, both which are, on this account, oftcner 
than once, contralled in facred writ. In general, to exprefs any 
thing inconceivablv deep, this word is adopted, which (hews fuf- 
ficiently that unfathomable depth was always a concomitant of 
the idea conveyed hj Jh(cl. Thus God is reprefented by Mofes 
as faying, Deut. xxxii, 22. yf Jire is kindled in mine anger, and 
Jhall burn to the loive/l hell^ as it is rendered in the common ver- 
fion. The word is Jheol or hades ; and Simon himfelf admits *, 
that it is here an hyperbole, which fignifies that the fire fhould 
reach the bottom of the earth, and confume the whole earth. I 
acknowledge that it is in this paffage ufed hyperbolically. But 
will any perfon pretend that it could have anfwered the purpofe 
of giving the molt terrible view of divine judgments, if the lite- 
ral meaning of the v%'ord had implied no more than a grave ? 
This conceffion of Simon's, is in effect giving up the caufe. Ac- 
cording to the explanation I have given of the proper fenfe of 
the word, it was perfectly adapted to fuch an ufe, and made a 
very ftriking hyperbole ; but if his account of the literal and or- 
dinary import of the term be juft, the expreffion, fo far from be- 
ing hyperbolical, would have been the reverfe. 

In further evidence of this doctrine, the inhabitants of «2i«; 
are, from their fubterranean abode, denominated in the New 
Teflament, Phil. ii. ic. y-f.-rxy^^ontn, a word of the fame import 
with the phrafe vir*Kxxa i/ti yrti-> under the earth, in the Apoca- 
Ivpfe? ch. V. 13. and which, with the nrcv^x-jm and tT^tytict, ceUJtial 
and terrejlrial beings, include the whole rational creation. Of 
the coincidence of the Hebrew and the Pagan notions in i^egard 
to the fituation of the place of departed fpirits, if it were necef- 
iiry to add any thing to what was obferved above, from the im- 
* Reponfe a la Defenfe, &c. ch. xvi. 

DiSSERTATlblfS. 185 

port of the names rnfernus and inferi^ thefe beautiful lines of Vir- 
gil might fuffice : 

Non fecus, ac fi qua penitus vi terra dehifcens 
Infernas referet fedes, et regna recludat 
Pallida, diis invifa, fuperque immane barathrum 
Cernatur trepiaentque immiflb lumine manes *. 

§ 7. Several proofs might be brought from the prophets, and 
even from the Gofpels, of the oppofition in which heaven for 
height, and hades for depth, were conceived to Hand to each other- 
I (hall produce but a few from the Old Tellament, which con- 
vey the moft precife notion of their fentiments on this fubjedt. 
The firfl is from the Book of Job, ch. xi. 7, 8, 9. where we 
h^A'e an illuftration of the unfearchablenefs of the divine per- 
fe^Slions in thefe memorable words, as found in the common ver- 
fion, Canjl thou by feat ching jind out God ? Cavft thou find out. 
the Almighty unto perfeBion ? It is as high as heaven, what canjt 
thou do ? Deeper than hell, ^x^vn^x Je ruv iv »^ov, what canft thou 
know? The meajure thereof is longer than the ec^'th^ and broader 
than the fna. Now of the opinion that the word in the Old 
Teftament always denotes grave or fepnlchre, nothing can be a 
fuller confutation than this paflage. Among fuch immenfe dif- 
tances as the height of heaven, the extent of the earth and the 
ocean, which were not only in thofe days unknown to men, but 
conceived to be unknowable ; to introduce, as one of the unmea- 
furables, a fepalchre whofe depth could fcarcely exceed ten or 
twelve cubits, and which, being the work of men, was perfe<flly 
known, would have been abfurd indeed, not to fay ridiculous. 
What man in his fenfes could have faid, * Ye can no more com- 

* prehend the Deity, than ye can difcover the height of the fir- 

* mament, or meafure the depth of a grave.' 

A pafTage very (irailar we have in the Pfalms, cxxxix. 8i 
where heaven and u^,k are in the fame way contrailed. If I af- 
cend up into heaven, thou art there ; if £ make mv bed in hell^ 
{«> KXTxjiu ng T»y «S»)p, behold thou art there. The only other place 
I (hall mention is in the prophet Amos, ch. ix. 2, 3. where Gad 
is reprefented as faying, Though they dig ir.ta kelly m oi^ov, thence 
fhall my hand take them ; though they climb up to heaven, thence 
will I bring them dowrtj and though they hide tkcmfelves on the 
top of Carmel^ Z will fearch and take the'7i out thence ; and 
though they be hid from my fight in the bottom of the fea^ thence 
will I command the firpent^ and he fhall bite them. Here for il- 
luflration we have a double contrail. To the top of Carmel, a 
very high mountain, is contrafled very properly the bottom of the 
fea ; but to heaven, which is incomparably higher than the high- 
eft mountain, no fuitable contraft is found, e.\cepty2»f©/or hades^ 

Vol. I. A a which 

* -^n. viiJ. 


v/hich was evidently conceived to be the loweit thing in the 
world. The iviyuot were fuppofed to poflefs the middle parts, 
the iTrav^Mitci and xttTx^^tnot occupied the extrenmes, the former in 
height, the latter in depth. A late writer, of profound erudition, 
of whofe fentiments on this fubjefl I ftiall have occafion foon to 
take notice, has quoted the above paffage of Amos, to prove that 
into /heoi men penetrate by digging : he might, with equal reafon, 
have quoted it to prove that into heaven men penetrate by climb- 
ing^ or that men, in order to hide themfelves, have recourfe to the 
bottom of the fea. 

§ 8. Again, Itt it be obferved, that keber^ the Hebrew word 
for grave or fepulchrey is never rendered in the ancient tranflation 
iJw, but r» r«5, fAfiJi4.x, or fome equivalent term. Sbeol, on the 
contrary, is never rendered t«^o? or ftfnftx, but always «5nf ; nor 
is it ever conftrued with ^xtttoi, or any verb which fignifies to 
bury, a thing almoft inevitable in words fo frequently occurring, 
if it had ever properly fignified a grave. This itfclf might fuf- 
fice to ftiew that the ideas which the Jews had of thefe were ne- 
ver confounded. I obferve further, that ihi, as well as the cor- 
refponding Hebrew word, is always lingular in meaning, as well 
as in form. The word for grave is often plural. The former 
never admits the poffeffive pronouns, being the receptacle of all 
the dead, and therefore incapable of an appropriation to indivi- 
duals, the latter often. Where the difpofal of the body or corpfe 
is fpoken of, Txtpo?, or fome equivalent term, is the name of its 
repolitory. When mention is made of the fpirit after death, its 
abode is i^uj. When notice is taken of one's making or vifiting 
the grave of any perfon, touching it, mourning at it, or eredling 
a pillar or monument upon it, and the like, it is always ieber 
that is employed. Add to all this that, in hades, all the dead are 
reprefented as prefent, without exception. The cafe is quite dif- 
ferent with the graves or fepulchres. Thus, Ifaiah reprefents, 
very beautifully and poetically, a great and fudden defolation that 
would be brought upon the earth, faying, Ifa. v. 14. Hades, 
which is in the common verfion, Heil hath enlarged her/e/f, and 
opened her mouth luithout meafure. Hades alone is conceived to 
contain them all, though the graves, in which their bodies were 
depofited, might be innumerable. Again, in the fong of triumph 
on the fall of the king of Babylon, ch. xiv. 9. Hell (the origi. 
nal word is the fame as iji the preceding paffage) from beneath 
is moved for thee to meet thee at thy coming • it Jlirreth up the 
dead for thee, even all the chief ones of the earth : it hath raifed 
up from their thrones all the kings of the nations. Thus in ha~ 
des, all the monarchs and nobles, not of one family or race, but 
of the whole earth, are affembled. Yet their fepulchres are as 
diftant from one another as the nations they governed. Thofe 
mighty dead are raifed, n»t frpm their couches, which would 



have been the natural expreffibn, had the prophet's idea been a 
fepulchral vault, how magnificent foever, hwt from their thrones, 
as fuited the notion of all antiquity, concerning not the bodies, 
but the iLades or ghofts of the departed, to which was always 
alTigned lomething fimilar in rank and occupation to what they 
had poflcfltd upon the earth. Nay, as is well obferved by Ca- 
flalio *, thofe are reprefented as in hades, whofe carcafes were- 
denied the honours of fepulture. 

§ 9. To the preceding examples, I fliall add bnt one other 
from the Old Tellament. It is taken from that beautiful paflage 
in Job, ch.xxviii. 17. wherein God himfelf is the ipeaker, and 
whereof the great purpofe is, to expofe human ignorance, and 
check human prefumption. Have the gates of death been op- 
ened unto thee / or hajt thou fee» the doors of the fjadow of 
death? For this laft defignation the term is in Hebrew tfalmoth, 
and in the tranflation of the Seventy, «Sjij : for, as was hinted be- 
fore, tjalmoth, in its ordinary acceptation, is fynonymous with 
fkeol^ though foraetimes ufed metaphorically, for a very dark 
place, or a llate of great ignorance. It is almoft too obvious to 
need being remarked, that this challenge to Job could have no 
relation to a fepulchre, the door, or entry to v;hich, is always 
known to the Jiving. The cafe was very diiFerent with regard 
to the habitation of departed fpirits. At the fame time I en- 
tirely agree with the learned and ingenious biihop Lowth -f-, 
that the cuftom of depofiting jander ground the bodies of the de- 
ceafed, and the form of their fepulchres, have, probably, firft 
fuggelled fo Toe of the gloomy notions entertained on this fub- 
jeci. But popular opinions have a growth and progrefs, and 
come often, efpecially in queftions at once fo interefting and fo 
infcrutable, to differ widely from what they were originally. 
May we not then, upon the whole, fairly conclude, that v.'e have 
all trie evidence which the nature of the thing will admit, and 
more than in moll philological inquiries is thought fufficient, 
that the sMQ'id. grave or fepulchre never conveys the full import 
of the Hebrew floeol, or the Greek hade.*, though, in fome in- 
ftances, it may have all the precifion necefl'ary for giving the im- 
port of the fentiment ? 

§ 10 Even ;n fome inftances, where the language is fo figu- 
rative, as to allow great latitude to a tranflator, the original term 
is but weakly rendered grave. Thus it is faid. Love is firong as 
deaths jealoufy i^ cruel as the grave. Cant. viii. 6. The grave, 
wLt-n penonified, or ufed metaphorically, is more commonly, if 
I miitake not, exhibited as a gentle power, which brings relief 
from cruelty, oppreffion, and trouble of every kind ; whereas 
badeSf which regards more the ftate of departed fouls, than the 


* Deffnfio adv. Bezam. AdverfHrii Errores, 
\ De facra Poefi Hcbiseorum, Prsel. viu 


manfions of their bodies, exhibits, when perfonifitd, a fevere and 
inflexible jailor, who is not to be gained by the molt pathetic en- 
treaties, or by any arts merely human. The claufe would be 
appofitely rendered in Latin, mexorahilii ficut crcusj for it is this 
inflexibility of character, that is chiefly indicated by the original 
word rendered cruel. In this notion of that (late, as indeed in 
fome other fentiments on this fubjeft, and even in the terms ap- 
plied to it, there is a pretty clofe coincidence with thofe of the 
ancient pagans. When the Latin poet mentions the fatal confe- 
quence of the venial trefpafs of Orpheus (as it appeared to him) 
in turning about to take one look of his beloved Eurydice, be- 
fore leaving the infernal regions, he fays, Igncjcenda quidem ,• 
but immediately corre6ling himfelf, adds, Jcircnt fi i^nofcere 

§11.1 fhall now proceed to exumine fome paflages in tiie 
New Teftament, wherein the word occurs, that we may difcovei 
whether we ought to affix the fame idea to it as to the correfpond- 

ing term in the Old Tlie flrft I fhall pioiuce is one. which, 

being originally in the Old Teftament, is quoted and comment- 
ed on in the New, and is coi fequei.tly one of the fittell for af- 
fifling us in the difcovery. Peter, in fupporting the milTion of 
his Mafter, in a fpeech made to the inhabitants of Judea and Je- 
rufalem, on the famous dav of Pentecofl, tl.eges, an,oat',fl other 
things, the prediction of the royal Pialmilt, part of which runs 
thus in the common verfion, Aft., ii. i"]. Bccavfe thou wilt not 
leave my foul in hell^ neither wilt thou fufftf thine holy One to fee 
corruption. The paflage is cited froai the Pfalnis, xvi. lo. 
in the very words of the Seventy, which are (as far as concerns 
the prefent queition) entirely conformable to the original He- 
brew. As this prophecy might be undeiilood by f< nie to r<"late 
only to the Pfalnnifl; himfelf, the Apollle (liews how iaapplicable 
it is to him, when literally explained. It plainly pointed to a 
refurrecfion, and fuch a refurreclion as would very foon follow 
death, that the foul fhould not be left in hades, fliould not rtmcnn 
in the manlion of departed fpirits, but fhould reanimate its body, 
before the latter had fuffered corruption. Bi etbren^ fays he, Ads 
ii. 29. let me f peak freely to you of the Patriarch David., that he 
is both dead and buried^ and his fepulchre is with us to this daj . 
He has had no refurreftion. It was never pretended that he hsid. 
His body, like other bodie?, has undergone corruption ; and this 
gives fufficient reafon to believe that his foul has fliarcd the late 
of other fouls, and that the prophecy was never meant of him, 
unlefs in a fecondary fenfe. But, continues he, ver. 30, 31, 
beinp a prophet, he fpahe of the refurreSiion of Chrift, or the 
Meiliah : and, to {hew how exa£lly both what related to the 
foul, and what related to the body, had their completion in the 
Meffiah, adds, that his foul was not left in hades^ neither did his 



fie Jh fee corruption. It has been argued, that this is an example 
of the figure h "h^x S-jciv, where the fame fentiment is exprofled a 
fecond time by a different phrafe. In fome fenfe this may be 
aduiitted ; for, no doubt, either of the exprefTions would have 
fer\-ed for predifting the event. But it is enough for my pur- 
pofe, that the writer, in ufing twc, one regarding the foul, the 
ocher regarding the body, would undoubtedly adapt his languaoe 
to the received opinions concerning each. And if fo, bada was 
as truly, in their account, the foul's deftiny alter death, as cor- 
ruption was the body's. 

§ li. I am furprifed, that a man of Dr Taylor's critical abili- 
ties, as well as Oriental literature, fhould produce the palTao-e 
nuot'd by the Apoftle, as an example to prove thatyZ'fo/, the pit^ 
rleath^zad corruption^ are fynonymous. The expreilion, as we 
read it in the Pfalm, is (to fay the lealt) no evidence ot this ; but 
if we admit Peter to have beon a juit interpreter of the Pfalmilt's 
'.ntaning, which Simon feems very unwilling to admit, it con- 
tains a Itrong evidence cf the contrary ; for, in his comment, ho 
clearly diltinguilhes the deftiny of the foui^ which is to be con- 
figned to Jheol or hades^ from that of the body or flelh, which is 
to be coufigned to corruption. Nor is there, in this, the flighteft 
appearance of an unufual or myitical application of the words. 
The other examples brought by that author, in his very valua- 
ble Hebrew Concordance, are equally exceptionable. 

He proceeds on the fuppofition, that no account can be given, 
why certain phrafes are often found coupled together, but by 
faying that they are fynonymous : whereas, in the nrefent caie^ 
it is much more .naturally accounted for, by faying, that the 
events to which they relate, are commonly concomitant. We 
ought never to recur to tautology for the folution of a difficultyj 
unlefs when the ordinary application of the words admits no 
other refource. This is far from being the cafe in the inftances 
referred to. Of the like kind are the arguments founded on 
fuch figurative expreffions, as digging into hades ; Koran's de- 
fcending alive into it ; Jonah's being there, vC'hen in the belly of 
the great fiih ; the foundations of the mountains, or the roots of 
the trees, reaching to it ; which are all evident hyperboles, aiid 
to which we find expreffions entirely fimilar in ancient authors, 
both Greek and Latin. Thus, Virgil, defcribing the ftorm in 
which -i^lneas was involved at fea, fays, 

ToUimur in coelura, curvato gurgite, et iidem 
Subduda ad manes imcs defcendimus unda. 

Again, fpeakitig of an oak, 

Ipfa haeret fcopulis ; et quantum vertice ad auras 
iEthereas, tantum radice in Tartara tendit. 



Yet, thefe figures, as far as I have heard, have never created any 
doubt among critics, concerning the ordinary acceptation of the 
words tartar us and imi manes. No pretence has been made that 
the one ever nieant, when ufed not tropically, but properly, the 
bottom of the fea, and the other a few yards under ground. In- 
deed, if a man were to employ the fame mode of reafoning, in 
regard to the Latin terms that relate to this fubjeft, which has 
been employed, in regard to the Hebrew ; we fhould conclude, 
XhzX. fepulchruni and infermis are fynonymous, anima and corpus^ 
manes and c/«z', upon evidence incomparably ftronger than that 
we have for inferring, that Jheol and keher are fo. Of the firil 
two the Latin poet fays, Animamque fepulchro condinius. If ani- 
ma be liere ufed for the foul, agreeably to its ordinary and pro- 
per acceptation, he affig-ns it the fame habitation as is given to 
the body after death, to wit, t\\& fepulcbre : and if it be ufed for 
the horiy^ the words corpus and anima are ftrangely confounded, 
even by the bell writers. As we have anima here for corpus^ 
we have, in other places, corpus for anima. For, fpeaking of 
Charon's ferrying the fouls of the deceafed over Styx, he fays, 

Et ferruginea fubveftat corpora cymba. 

Now, what Virgil here calls corpora, and a few lines after, 
more explicitly, defunBaque corpora vita, he had a very little 
betore exprefled by a phrafe of the contrary import, tenues fine 
corpore vitas., the one being the body without the life, the other 
the life without the body. That ctnis and manes are in like man- 
ner confounded, we have an example from the fame author : 

Id cinerem, aut manes credis curare fepultos ? 

Here, if fepultos mean buried, cinis and manes are fynonymous : 
if manes mean ghojls, then fepultos is equivalent to dedu£los ad 
infer num. Yet it would not be eafy to fay to what trope the 
author has, in thefe inftances, had recourfe, if it be not the cata- 
chrefis. Nor is this promifcuous application of the words pe- 
culiar to the poets, tivy, the hiftorian, ufes the word manes in 
profe with equal latitude : Sepulchra diruta, nudati manes. 

To thefe inftances of confufion in the meanings of the words 
mentioned, nothing parallel has been alleged from the Hebrew 
Scriptures, except only that tJ^DJ fometimes, like anima in the 
example above quoted, means a dead body. Yet nobody confi- 
ders the examples aforefaid as invalidating thofe diftinftions in 
Latin, which an ufage incomparably more extenfive has eftablilhed 
in the language. With much lefs reafon then can a few expref- 
fions, confeffedly hyperbolical and figurative, be pleaded for fub- 
verting the uniform acceptation of the Hebrew words in queftion, 
in their proper and natural application. Taylor's remark, that 
keber grave, is one particular cavity, &.c. and ihzi Jheol is a col- 



ledive name for all the graves, &.c. tends more to perplex the 
fubjedt than to explain it. He would hardly be thought to ap- 
prtfiend dillinftly the import of the Latin woids, who fhould de- 
fine them by telling us, that Jepulchrum is one particular cavity 
digged for the interment of a dead perfon, and that infernus is a 
coUedive name for all the fe/julcbra, &-c. The definition would 
be both obfcure and unjuft ; yet, from what has been lliown, 
more might be produced to juftify it, than can be advanced in 
vindication of the other. 

§ 13. Befides, we have another clear proof from the New 
Teftament, that hades denotes the intermediate ftate of f. uls be- 
tween death and the general refurreftion. In the Apocalypfe, 
ch. XX. 14. we learn that death and hades, by our tranflators 
rendered hell as ufual, Jliall^ immediately after the general 
judgment, he caji into the lake of fire. This is the Jtcond death, 
Jn other words, the death which confifts in the feparation of the 
foul from the body, and the ftate of fouls intervening between 
death and judgment, fhali be no more. To the wicked thefe 
Ihall be fucceeded by a more terrible death, the dam.nation of 
gehenna, hell properly fo called. Indeed, in this facred Book, 
the commencement, as well as the deftruction, of this interme- 
diate ftate, are fo clearly marked, as to render it aimed impof- 
fible to mift-ake them. In a preceding chapter, vi. 8. we learn 
that hades follows clofe at the heels cf death ; and, from the 
other paflage quoted, that both are involved in one common ruin 
at the univerfal judgment. Whereas, if we interpret U'h.M hell^ 
in the Chriilian fenfe of the word, the whole paffage is rendered 
nonfenfe. Hell is reprefented as being cad into bell : for fo the 
lake of fire, which is in this place alfo denominated the fecond 
death, is univerfaliy interpreted. 

J 14. The Apoftie Paul, without naming hades, conveys to 
us the fame idea of the ftate of fouls departed, Rom.x. 6. 7 = 
The rigbteoujnefs which is cf faith ^ fpeaketh on thii 'wife. Say 
not in thine heart, ivho fhall afcend into heaven? (^that is to bring 
Chrifl down from above j) or, who fhall dtfcend into the deep ? 
Hi T»iv »/2vTcroi> into the abyfs, (^that is, to bring up Chrift again from 
the dead) — that is, faith doth rot require, for our faiisfadion, 
things imprav^icable, either to fcale the heavens, or to explore 
the profound receffes of departed fpirits. The word here ufed 
fhows this. It is a/Sucro-os, that is, a pit or gulph, if not bottom- 
lefs, at leaft of an indeterminable depth. The very antithefis cf 
defcending into the deep, and afcf nding into heaven, alfo iKows 
it. There would be a moft abfuid difparity in the different 
members of this illuftration, if no more were to be underftood 
by the abyfs than the grave, fince nothing is more practicable 
for the li\nng than a defcent thither. The women, who went to 
vifit our Lord's fepulchrc, did aflually defcend into it, Mark 



xvi. 5. Luke xxiv 3. Befides, to call the grave the abyfs. Is 
entirely unexampled. Let it be alfo obferved, that it is not faid 
to bring Chriji up from the grave, hut ft om the dead s for whicb 
end to bring back the foul is in the fir(i place neceflary. I do 
not fay that the Greek word *s^«(r<ra;. or the correfpoiident He- 
brew word CD inn thehom, is confiued to the fignification here 
given it. I know that it often means the ocean, becaufe con- 
ceived to be of an unfathomable depth, and may indeed be ap-. 
plied to any thing of which the fame quality can be affirmed. 

§ 15. So much for the literal fenfe of the word hades^ which, 
as has been obferved, implies properly neither hell nor the grave^ 
but the place or ftate of departed fouls. I know that it has been 
faid, and fp<;cioufly fupported, that in the IVTofaical economy, 
there was no exprefs revelation of the exiftence of fouls after 
death. Admitting this to be in fome ftnfe true, the Ifraelites 
were not without fuch intimations of a future ftate, as types, and 
figures, and emblematical prediflions, could give them : yet cer- 
tain it is, that life and immortality were, in an eminent manner, 
brought to light only by the Gofpel. But, from whatever 
fource they derived their opinions, that they had opinions on 
this fubjeft, though dark and confufed, is manifeft, ss from ma- 
ny other circuniflances, fo particularly from the practice of witch- 
craft and necrnmancy, which prevailed among them, and the 
power they afcribed to forcerers, juftly or unjuftly it matters 
not, of evoking the ghofts of the deceafed. 

The whole flory of the witch of Endor, i Sam. xxviii. 7, gcc. 
is an irrefragable evidence ot this. For, however much people 
may differ in their manner of explaining the phenomena which 
it prefents to us, judicious and impartial men, whofe minds are 
not preoccupied with a fyftem, can hardly differ as to the evi- 
dence it affords, that the exiftence of fpirits in a feparate ftate, 
v/as an article of the popular belief, and that it was thought pof- 
lible, by certain fecret art;-, to maintain an intercourfe with them. 
Our queftion here is, not what was exprefsly revealed to that 
people on this fubjeft, but what appear to have been the notions 
commonly entertained concerning it ? or what was it which the 
learned bifbop of London ftyles *, the infernum poetkum of the 
Hebrews ? Indeed, the artifices employed by their wizards and 
necromancers alluded to by Ifaiah, of returning anfwers in a 
feigned voice, which appeared to thofe prefent., as proceeding from 
under the ground, Jfa. xxix. 4. is a demonftration of the preva- 
lence of trie fentiments 1 have been illuftracing, in regard both 
to the exiftence, and to the abode of fouls departed. For that 
thefe were the oracles intended to be confulted, is raanifeft from 
the Prophet's upbraiding them with it, as an abfurdity, that the 
living fliould recur for counfel, not to their God, but to the dead. 


* Notes on chip. xiii. and xiv. of Ifaiah. 


It 13 well exprefled in Houbigant's tranflation, Itane pro •vivj's 
mortui interrogantur, Ila. viii. 19. But what can be clearer to 
this purpofe than the law itfelf, whereby fuch practices are pro- 
hibited ? There Jhall not he found among you any one that maketh 
his f on or his daughter to pajs through the Jire, or that ufeth di- 
vination, or an obferver of times, or an enchanter^ or a witch, or 
a charmer^ or a confulter with familiar fpirits, or a wiZard, or 
a necromancer, Deut. xviii. 10, ii. This laft charafter is not 
exprelTed in the original as in the Englifb tranflation, bj a fingle 
word, but by a periphralis, uD'H^H *?^J ti^ll dorejh el hamathim, 
which, rendered literally, is one ivho confuiteth the dead. It is 
accordingly tranflated by the Seventy nn^iiTui rm ȣxg8{, and by 
Houbigant, ^«J mortuos interroget. 

§ 16. 1 fhali add a few things in regard to the metaphorical 
ufe of the term. 1 have obferved that heaven and hades are com- 
monly fet in oppofition to each other ; the one is conceived to 
be the higheft objedl, the other the loweft. From what is lite- 
rally or locally to, the tranfiticn is very natural (infomuch that 
we find traces of it in all languages) to what is figuratively fo ; 
that is, what exprefles a glorious and happy (late on the one 
hand, or a humble and miferable ftate on the other. In this 
way it is ufed by our Lord, Matth. xi. 23. And thou Capernaum, 
which art exalted to heaven^ Jhalt be brought down to hades, l&j 
iJei). As the city of Capernaum was never literally raifed to 
heaven, we have no reafon to believe that it was to be literally 
brought down to hades. But as, by the former expreffion, we 
are given to underfland, that it was become a fiourifhing and 
fplendid city, or, as fome think, that it had obtained great fpiri- 
tual advantages ; fo, by the latter, that it fhould be brought to 
the loweft degree of abafement and wretchednefs. 

§ 17. Another paffage, in which the application of the word 
is figurative, we have in that celebrated promiie made to Peter, 
Matth. xvi. 18. Thou art Peter, and upon this rock will I build 
my church, and the gates of hell., TriAa/ a^iv, the gates of hades, 
fhall not prevail againjl it. It is by death, and by it only, that 
the fpirit enters into hades. The gate of hades is therefore a 
very natural periphrafis for death ; infomuch that, without any 
pofitivc evidence, we fhould naturally conclude this to be the 
meaning of the phrafe. But we have fufHcient evidence, both 
facred and profane, that this is the meaning. The phrafe occurs 
in the Septuagint in the thankfgiving of Hezekiah, after his mi- 
raculous recovery from the mortal difeafe he had been feized 
with, Ifa. xxxviii. ic. I faid, I Jhall go to the gates of the grave, 
fj TTuXxii u^ov. It iollows, / am deprived of the refidue of my 
years. Nothing can be plainer than that ■kv'Kch a^w here means 
death, in other words, I ihall die and be deprived of the refidue 
of my years. But though the phrafe be the fame (for ttuXui aSov 

Vol. I. ' B b is 


is a literal veifion of the Hebrew) with that ufed by our Lord, 
our tranflAtors have not liked to make Hezekiah, who was a 
good man, fpeak as if he thought himfelf going to hell, and 
have therefore rendered it the grave. 

Another exannple we have in the Wifdom of Solomon, which, 
though not canonical Scripture, is, in a queftion of criticifm, a 
good authority, xvi. 13. Thou hajl power of life and death, thou 
leadeji to the gates of hades, ng ttvXoi; ««J»y, and bringeji up again. 
This paflage is as little fufceptible of doubt as the former. The 
claffical ufe of this phrafe is the fame w^ith that of the infpired 
writers. Homer, Iliad B, makes Achilles fay, as rendered by 
our Englilh poet : 

Who can think one thing, and another tell, 
My foul detefts him as the gates of hell ; 

that is, I hate him as death, or I hate him mortally. To fay 
then that the gates of hades ihall not prevail againft the church, 
is, in other words, to fay. It (hall never die, it fhall never be ex- 
tin£t. Le Clerc, though meaning the fame thing (as appears 
by his note), has exprefled it inaccurately : " Les portes de la 
" mort ne la furmonteront point ;" The gates of death fhall not 
furmount it. We fee at once how appofitely death is called the 
gate of hades. But what (hould we call the gates of death ? 
Not death itfelf, furely. They muft be difeafes ; for by thefe 
we are brought to death. But in this fenfe we cannot apply the 
promife. For many direful^fdifeafes has the church been afflifted 
with, if the introduftion of the groffeft errors, the mod fuperfli- 
tious practices and fenfelefs difputes, are to be accounted fuch ; 
but they have not hitherto proved mortal, and, we have reafon 
to believe, never fliall. 

§ 18. In the exclamation adopted by the Apoftle, i Cor. xv. 
55. death, where is thy f ting ? grave, iJjj, where is thy -vic- 
tory ? we cannot fay fo properly, that the words death and hades 
are ufed figuratively, as the vfor^s fling and viBory, with whick 
they are accompanied. In regard to the fenfe, there can be no 
doubt. It is manifeftly the Apoflle's view to fignify that, what- 
ever might have been formerly an objeft of terror in either death 
or hades., is removed by Jefus Chrift, infomuch that in thefe very 
things the true difciples find matter of joy and exultation. 

J 19. But is there not one paflage, it may be faid, in which 
the word <iS»j muft be underftood as fynonymous with yiwK^ and 
confequently muft denote the place of final punifhment prepared 
for the wicked, or hell in the Chriftian acceptation of the term ? 
Ye have it in the ftory of the rich man and Lazarus, Luke xvi. 
23. In bell, 11 zu ahy he lift up bis eyes, being in torments, and 
fctth Abrahfktn afar off and Lazarus in bis bofom. This is the 



only paflage In holy writ which feems to give countenance to 
the opinion that «^,< fometimes means the lame thing ss yauM. 
Here it is reprefented as a place of puniflament. The rich man 
is faid to be tormented there in the midil of flames. Thefe 
things will deferve to be examined narrowly. It is plain, that 
in the Old Teflament, the mofl profound iilence is obferved in 
regard to the llate of the deceafed, their joys or forrows, happi- 
nefs or mifery. It is reprefented to us rather by neg; tive qua- 
lities than by pofitive, by its filence, its darknefs, its being inac- 
ceffible, unlefs by preternatural means, to the living, and their 
ignorance about it. Thus much in general feems always to have 
been prefumed concerning it, that it is not a flate of aftivity 
adapted for exertion, or indeed for the accompliihment of any 
important purpofe, good or bad. In mofl refpefts, however, 
there was a refemblance in their notions on this lubjecl:, to thofe 
of the moft ancient heathens. 

But the opinions neither of Hebrews nor of heathens, remain- 
ed invariably the fame. And from the time of the captivity, 
more efpecially from the time of the fubje£tion of the Jews, firft 
to the Macedonian empire, and afterwards to the Roman ; as 
they had a clofer intercourfe with pagans, they ir''enfibly im- 
bibed many of their fentiments, particularly on thofe fubjeds 
whereon their law was filent, and wherein, by confequence, they 
confidered themfelves as at greater freedom. On this fubjeft of 
a future flate, v.'e find a confiderable difference in the popular 
opinions of the Jews in our Saviour's time, from thofe which 
prevailed in the days of the ancient prophets. As both Greeks 
and Romans had adopted the notion, that the ghofts of the de- 
parted were fufcepdble both of enjoyment and of fuffering, they 
were led to fuppofe a fort of retribution in that ilate, for their 
merit or demerit in the prefent. The Jews did not indeed adopt 
the pagan fables on this fubjeft, nor did they exprefs themfelves 
entirely in the fame manner ; but the general train of thinking 
in both came pretty much to coincide. The Greek hades they 
found well adapted to exprefs the Hebrew Jheol. This they 
came to conceive as including different forts of habitations for 
ghofts of different charadters. And though they did not receive 
the terms Elyjium or Elyjian fields, as fuitable appellations for 
the regions peopled by good fpirits, they took inftead of them, 
as better adapted to their own theology, the garden of Eden, or 
Paradife^ a name originally Perfian, by v.-hich the word anfwer- 
ing to garden, efpecially when applied to Eden, had commonly 
been rendered by the Seventy. To denote the fame ftate, they 
fometimes ufed the phrafe Ahraharr^s hofom^ a metaphor bor- 
rowed from the manner in which they reclined at meals. But, 
on the other hand, to exprefs the unhappy fituation of the wic- 
ked in that intermediate flare, they do not feem to have declined 



the ufe of the word tarfarux. The Apoftle Peter, 2 Ep, ii. 4. 
fays of evil angels that God cajl them down to bell, and delivered 
ibem into chains of darknefs, to be referved unto Judgment. So 
it {lands in the common verfion, though neither yjsv** nor «5)j; 
are in the original, where the expreflion is «;^a;;j ^e^ey ragrctg^uc-ai 
7rx^i^i)tci» in; x^ici* TiTHPr.u-ytv^. The word is not yivitu, ; for that 
comes after judgment ; but ra^Tasge^, wh;cl\is,.as it were, the pri- 
fon of hades, wherein criminals are kept till the general judg- 
ment. And as, in the ordinary ufe of the Greek ^vord, it was 
comprehended under hades, as a part ; it oueht, iinlcfs we had 
fome pofitive reafon to the contrary, by the ordinary rules of in- 
terpretation, to be underftood fo here. There is then no incon- 
fiftency in maintaining that the rich man, though in torments, 
was not in gebenna^ but in that part of bades called tartaru*^ 
where we have feen already that fpirits referved for judgment 
are detained in darknefs. 

That there is, in a lower degree, a reward of the righteous, 
and a punifhment of the v/icked, >^a the ftate intervening between 
death and the refurreftion, is no more repugnant to the divine 
perfections, than that there Ihould be (as, in the courfe of provi- 
dence, there often are) manifell recompences of eminent virtues, 
and of enormous crimes, in this prefent world. Add to this, 
that Jofephus, in the account he gives of the opinions of the 
pharifees, or there Jews who believed a fufure ft^te, mentions 
exprefsly the rewards of the virtuous, and the punilhments of 
the vicious, in hades^ or under the earth, which is, as was ob- 
ferved before, another expreffion for the fame thing *. From 
his reprefentation we fhould conclude, that, in his time, a refur- 
reftion and future judgment, as underftood by the Chriftians, 
were not univerfally the do6lrine, even of the Pharifees ; but 


* A.9«r«T«» rt t<7^vv Ta.11; "^/v^/xi? -TTf^ii ctvrtii <=»«<, x.xi v«"e ^Bwe; onc»tua-Ui 
T£ >ta( Tiu-cti fi(j «2-T>)5 Ji y.a,y.icii iirtTr,0iy7ti tx xu ^iu yiycvi, kxi tsuj 
fipyuoi cciotev Tr^c^-iSiT^xt, TUif as gatj-ivv/jy roii caxSiovf. Ant'q- lib. xvnj. 
C. 1- 'irvXi'tv 6i ■yrxrrxi un ct'p^x^Toi' f^irx^ixivuv §e ti; ineov vufcct, Ti)» t»» 
«y*&«» fi.etYi'). Ti)» oi r«if ^xvXuv, xiaiu rif^o^ix k6Xx^itBxi. Bcli. Lib. ij. 
c. u. '£Tfg«» trafix u an txprtffion by no means paraile', ^s Dr Jennings 
ftienns to have thojght (Jev.'Kh Antiquities, B. i. c. ic") to that uud ot 
our Loid's trarisfijruration (Luke ix. 29.)- t« "3o{ t*v T^ta-uTetv xvtov i-n^ov. 
Et}»i is no more thsn the acpcarance. Now, to l-y that the body into 
which the foul pafTcs is another body ; and to fay that it has another ap- 
pearance, are two expreflions which no perfon wh . reflects, will confound 
as equivalent. That there are fome things however, \\ hich ■ oold lead 
one to infer that the opinions of the Piianfees vn this aiticle were more 
conformable to the Chnftian duclrinf, than is implied in the words of 
Jofephus, is not to be difftmbled. But the d'f^culty refjltrn^ hence is 
more eafi'v removed by admitting, what is nowils iriiprobable, that there 
was not then among them an exatt uniformity of opinion, than by recur- 
ring on either fide to a mode of criticifrn which the language will not 


that the prevalent and diflinguifhing opinion was. that the foul 
I'urvived the body, that vicious fouls would fufFer an ever- 
lafting imprifonment in hades, and that the fouls of the virtuous 
would both be happy there, and, in procefs of time, obtain the 
privilege of tranfmiprating into other bodies. The immortality 
of human fouls, and the tr?.nfmigration of the good, feem to have 
"been all that they comprehended in the phrafe «y««-«(r<5 t*» vix^mv. 
Indeed, the words ftriftiy denote no more than renewal of life. 

Their fentiments on this topic naturally recal to cur remem- 
brance fc:r.e of thofe exhibited by Virgil, in the fixth book of 
the i^neid. That this Pythagorean dogma was become pretty 
general among the Jews, appears even from fome paflages in the 
Gofpels. 1 he queilion put by the difciples, Johnix. 2. Who 
finned ; this man or his parents, that he was born blind ? and 
fome popular opinions concerning Jefus, whom they knew to 
have been born and brought up among themfelves, that he was 
Elijah, or Jeremiah, or one of the ancient prophets. Matt, xvi, 
14. manifeitly prefuppote the doftrine of the tranfmigration. It 
is alfo in aliufion to this, that the Jewiih author of the book of 
Wifdom, has, as it is rendered in the common tranflation, thus 
expreffed himl'elf : / was a witty child, and had a good fpirit ; 
yea rather, being good, I came into a body undefiled : ayxBoi ui nA- 
5*y £<? (Tuuu. ceuixyrtv, Wifd. viii. 19, 20. Yet we have reafon, from 
the New Teftament, to think that thefe tenets were not, at that 
time, univerfal among the Pharifees, but that fome entertained 
jufter notions of a refurreftion, and that afterwards, the opinions 
of the Talmudills, on this article, had a much greater conformi- 
ty to the dodrine of the Gofpel, than the opinions of fome of 
their predecelTors in and before our Saviour's time. 

§ 20. According to this explication, the rich man and Lazarus 
were both in hades, though in very different fituations, the latter 
in the manfions of the happy, and the former in thofe of the 
wretched. Let us fee how the circumftances mentioned, and the 
exprefijons ufed in the parable will fuit this hypothefis. Firft, 
though they arc faid to be at a great diftance from each other, 
they are ftill within fight and hearing. This would have been 
too grofs a violation of probability, if the one were confidered as 
inhabiting the highelt heavens, and the other as placed in the in- 
fernal regions. Again, the expreffions ufed, are fuch as entirely 
fuit this explanation, and no other ; for, firft, the diftance from 
each other is mentioned, but no hint that the one was higher in 
fituation than the other ; fecondly, the terms whereby motion 
from the one to the other is expreffed, are fuch as are never em- 
ployed in expreffing motion to or from heaven, but always when 
the places are on a level, or nearly fo. Thus Lazarus, when 
dead, is faid, Luke xvi. 2 2. xmHx,%*tc.i, to be caried away, not 
«»£vi;^^^riyai, to be carried up^ by angels into Abraham's bofom ; 

where as y 

I9S P R. E L I II I K A R Y 

whereas, it is the latter of thefe, or one fimilarly compounded, 
that is always ufed, where an affumption into heavxn is fpoken 
of. Thus, the fame writer, in fpeaking of our Lord's afcenfion, 
fays, ch. xxiv. 51. «»s^rgiT« £<« Te» •u§«n>», and Mark, ch.xvi. 19. 
ia relation to the fame event, fays, «yiAn(p^ nf rav oy{«»er, he ivai 
taken up into heaven. Thefe words are alfo ufed, wherever one 
is faid to be conveyed from a lower to a higher fituation. But, 
what is ftill more decifive in this way, where mention is made of 
pafling from Abraham to the rich man, and inverfely, the verbs 
employed are, oix^xiiai and intTrt^aa), words which always denote 
motion on the fame ground or level ; as, paffing a river or lake, 
paffing through the Red Sea, or paiTmg from Afia into Macedo- 
nia. Bat, when heaven ij fpoken of as the termination to which, 
or from which, the paffage is made, the word is invariably, either 
in the firft cafe cim$xna), and in the fecond ««t«/3«<j*, o^ fome word 
fimilarly formed, and of the fame import. Thus, both the cir- 
cumftancts of the ftory, and the expreflions employed in it, con- 
firm the explanation I have given. For if the facred penmen 
wrote to be underftood, they mull have employed their words 
and phrafes in conformity to the current ufage of thofe for whom 
they wrote. 

§ 21. When our Saviour, therefore, faid to the penitent thief 
upon the crofs, Lukexxiii. 43. To day Jhalt thou be with me in 
paradife ; he faid nothing that contradicts what is affirmed of 
his defcent into hades^ in the Pfalms, in the Acts, or in the Apo- 
ftles creed. Paradife is another name for what is, in the para- 
ble, called Abraham's bofom. But it may be urged on the other 
fide, that Paul has given fome reafon to conclude that paradife 
and heaven, or the feat of the glorious hierarchy, are the fame. 
It is not, fays he, 2 Cor. xii. i, a, 3, 4. expedient for me doubt- 
lefs to glory : I will come to vi/ions and revelations of the Lord, 
I Jkneu) a man in Chrifl above fourteen years ago (^whether in the 
body I cannot ttll, or whether out of the body, I cannot tell, God 
inoweth), fuch an one caught up to the third heaven. And I 
knew fucb a man (whether in the body^ or out of the body^ I 
cannot tell, God knoweth), how that he was caught up into para- 
dife^ and heard unfpeahable words, which it is not lawful for a 
man to utter. The Jews make mention of three heavens. The 
firft is properly the atmofphere v^here the birds fly, and the 
clouds are fufpended. The fecond is above the firft, and is what 
we call the vifible firmament, wherein the fun, moon, and ftars 
appear. The third, to us invifible, is conceived to be above the 
fecond, and therefore fomctimes ftyled the heaven of heavens. 
This they confidered as the place of the throne of God, and the 
habitation of the holy angels. Now it is evident, that if, in the 
fecond and fourth verfes, he fpeak of one vifion or revelation 
only, paradife and heaven are the fame ; not fo, if in thefe he 



fpeak of two different revelations. My opinion is, that they are 
two, and I (hall affign my reafons. Firft, he fpeaks of them as 
more than one, and that not only in introducing them, / •will 
come to vijions and revelations, for fometimes, it mull be owned, 
the plural is ufed in expreffing a fubjeft indefinitely, but after- 
wards, in referring to what he had related he fays, ver. 7. lejl I 
Jbould he exalted above tneafure, through the abundance of the re- 
velations, mv (i7roxx>.v<^iuy. Secondly, they are related precifely as 
two diftinft events, and coupled together by the connexive parti- 
cle. Thirdly, there is a repetition of his doubts, ver. 2,3, in 
regard to the reality of his tranflation, which, if the whole re- 
late to a fingle event, was not only fuperfiuous, but improper. 
This repetition, however, was neceffary, if what is related in the 
third and fourth verfes, be a different fa£l from what is told in 
the fecond, and if he v;as equally uncertain whether it pafled in 
vilion or in reality. Fourthly, if all the three verfes regard only 
one revelation, there is a tautology in the manner of relating it 
unexampled in the apoftie's writings. I might urge, as a fifth 
reafon, the opinion of all Chriftian antiquity, Origen alone ex- 
cepted. And this, in a queftion of philology, is not without its 

I fhall only add, that though, in both verfes, the words in the 
Engliih Bible are caught up, there is nothing in the original an- 
fwering to the particle up. The apoftle has very properly em» 
ployed here the word u^ci^a, expreffive more of the fuddennefs 
of the event, and of his own pafTivenefs, than of the direftion of 
the motion *. The only other place in which xa^citus-oi occurs is 
in the Apocalypfe, Rev. ii. 7. To him that overcometh will J 
give to eat of the tree of life, which is in the midji^ rev x«§a^£<o-«t», 
of the paradife of God. Here our Lord, no doubt, fpeaks of 
heaven, but, as he plainly alludes to the ftate of matters in the 
garden of Eden, where our firft parents were placed, and where 
the tree of life grew, it can only be underftood as a figurative 
expreffion of the promife of eternal life, forfeited by Adam, but 
recovered be our Lord Jefus Chrift. 

§ 11. To conclude this long difcuffion, I fhall obferve that, 


* The learned reader may perufe the follbwirjg paHage from Epipha- 
iiius on this fubjeft, in oppolition to Oijen. Ov^t « XTrc^eXoi vTOTiBirxi 
70V v»^iMii(r»]> nvxf IV r^iTU cv^xveJ, Te<j Xitttuv UK^occ(r^eci hoyuv iTrifcctcivoii' 
otox yx^ ot^TTxyivTci Wf r^ncv Myuv av^Xicj. xxi ci^x tsv romrev xy^puttcv, 
UTi iv 0-UfCXTi, iiTi ^w^f? (ru^XTo;, e SiOi ei^iv, on ti^Trxyi) us to* ■rrxp^ua-ev. 
avo XTtitxXv^/Uf utfxXxi ia^ocKivxi fcntvu, J;? xvxXr,^^iti ivupyag, uttx^ tut 
w»j Tg/T» a^xvH, MTTX^ ^i tig rev 7ra,^x^u<rov. to yarg ot^x x^TrxyUTX to» t«(8t«k 
lag r^nn v^xva, totug xvotcxXu-^tv xvtu xxtx fcv r^trov avxXi)(pBi>iTt 7n(pnftrxi 
vuvifiKri. TO oi, KXt oiox waXiV i7rt<Pt^ofiiVit t«» to<»t«* xvB^UTroy, uri £» t-ukxti, 
iiTi iKTog tok (TU'uxrog, tig rov Tru^uduaev, Irt^xv xv^tg xvru Trti^xHpair^^mt xmTf 
T«» Trafxorifif ecx-ttei^.v^ty cf<K»t/r«. F.piph. Lib, ii. Haer. 44. 


though we may difcover hence, pretty exaftly, the general fenti- 
ments entertained on thefe fubjedls at the time, and the ftyle 
ufed concerning them, we are not to imagine that the expref- 
Cons are to be rigoroufly interpreted, in order to come at the true 
doftrine upon thofe articles, but lolely in order to difcover the 
popular opinions of the age. In regard to thefe, the opinions ol 
the age, there ought to be a clofe attention to the letter of what 
is fpoken ; but, in regard to the other, the dcdrine of holy writ, 
our attention ought to be moftly to the fpirit. Thus it appears 
to me the plain dodrine of Scripture, that there are fuch ftates 
as T have naentioned, and that the uie and nature of them is fuch 
as has been faid. But in refpeft of their fitualion, exprelhons 
implying that hades is under the earth, and that the feat of the 
bleffed is above the ftars, ought to be regarded merely as at- 
tempts to accommodate what is fpoken to vulgar apprehenfion 
and language. Of the like kind is the pr,acl;ce, fo frequent in 
holy writ, of afcribing human pafiions, nay, and human oigans 
and members, to the Deity. The fame may be faid of what we 
hear of plants and trees in paradife, of eating and drinking, or 
of fire and brimflone in either hades or gehenna. We have no 
more rcafon to underfland thefe literally, than we have to believe 
that the foul, when feparated from the body, can feel torment in 
its tongue, or that a little cold water can relieve it. 

§ 23. I am not ignorant, that the dodtrine of an intermediate 
flate between death and the rcfurreftion, hji? been of late ftrena- 
ouflv combated by fome learned and ingenious men ; amongtt 
•»vhom we mull reckon that excellent d'.vme, and firm friend to 
freedom of inquiry, Dr Law, the prefent bi&op of Carlifle *. 
I honour his difpofition, and have the greateft refpefl: for his ta-^ 
lents ; but at the fame time that 1 acknowledge he has, with 
much abilitv, fupported the fide he has efpoufed, I have never 
felt myfelf, on this head, convinced, though fomedmes perplex- 
ed, by his reafoning. It is foreign to my purpofe to enter into 
a minute difcuffion of controverted points in theology ; and there- 
fore I fhall only, in pafling, make a few remarks on this contro- 
verfy, as it is clofely connected with my fubjefl. 

Firft, I remark that the arguments on which the deniers of 
that ftate chiefly build, arife, in my opinion, from a mifapprehen- 
fion of the import of fome Scriptural expreffions. K^&e-Jio, KC(,£/.av, 
tojleep^ are words often applied to the dead, but this application 
is no more than a metaphorical cuphemifm derived from the 
refemblance which a dead body bears to the body of a perfon 
afleep. Traces of this idiom may be found in all languages, 
whatever be the popular belief about the flate of the dead. 
They often occur in the Old Tellement ; yet it has been fliown, 


* Dr Lav was living when thefe DiiTertations were in the hands of the 


that the common doftrine of the Orientals favoured the feparate 
exiftence of the fouls of the deceafed. But if it did not, and if, 
as fome fuppofe, the ancient Jews were, on all articles relating to 
another life, no better than Sadducees ; this fhews the more 
flrongly, that fuch metaphors, fo frequent in their writings, could 
be derived folely from bodily likenefs, and havmg no reference 
to a refurreftion, could be employed folely for the fake of avoid- 
tno- a difagreeable or ominous word. 1 own, at the lame time, 
that Chriftians have been the more ready to adopt fuch expref- 
lions, as their dottrine of the refurre6lion of the body prefented 
to their minds an additional analogy betv\een the bodies of the 
deceafed and the bodies of thofe aileep, that of being one day 
awaked. Eut I fee no reafon to imagine that, in this ufe, they 
carried their thoughts further than to the corporeal and vifible 
refemblance now mentioned. Another miftake about the im- 
port of Scriptural terms, is in the fenfe which has been given to 
the word ctva^cta^tg. They confine it by a ufe derived merely from 
modern European tongues, to that renovation which we call the 
reunion of the foul and the body, and which is to take place at 
the laft day. I have lliewn, in another place, (Notes on Matt. 
xxii. 23. and 32.) that this is not always the fenfe of the term 
in the New Tedament. 

I remark, fecondly, that many exprefuons of Scripture, in the 
natural and obvious fenfe, imply that an intermediate and fepa^- 
rate ftate of the foul is actually to fucceed death. Such are the 
words of our Lord to the penitent thief upon the crofs, Luke 
xxiii. 43. Stephen's dying petition, Afts vii. 59. the compari- 
fons which the apoftle Paul makes in different places, (2 Cor. v. 
6. &c. Philip, i. 21.) between the enjoyment which true Chri- 
ftians can attain by their continuance in this world, and that 
which they enter on at their departure out of it, and feveral other 
pafTages. Let the words referred to be read by any judicious 
perfon, either in the original, or in the common tranllation, which 
is fufficiently exadl for this purpofe ; and let him, fetting afide all 
theory or fyftem, fay candidly whether they would not be under- 
flood, by the grofs of manknid, as prefuppofing that the foul 
may, and will, exift feparately from the body, and be fufceptible 
of happinefs or mifery in that llate. If any thing could add to 
the native evidence of the exprellions, it would be the unnatural 
meanings that are put upon them, in order to difguife that evi» 
dence. What ihall we fay of the metaphyfical diflindion intro- 
duced, for this purpofe, between abfolute and relative time ? Th>i 
apoftle Paul, they are fenfible, fpeaks of the faints as admitted to 
enjoyment in the prefence of God, immediately aft;;r death. Now, 
to palliate the diredl contradiction there is in this to their doc- 
trine, that the vital principle, which is all they mean by the foul, 
remains extinguilhed beLv.cen death and the refurredion, they 

Vol. I. C c remind 

30a P R E L I M I N A R Y 

remind us of the difference there is between abfolute or real, and 
relative or apparent, time. They admit that, if the apoftle be 
underftood is fpeaking of real time, what is faid ilatly contradifts 
their fvftem ; but, fay they, his words rnuft be interpreted as 
fpoken only of apparent time. He talks indeed of entering on 
a fiate of enjoyment, immediately after death, though there may 
be many thoufands of years between the one and the other j for 
he means only, that when that ilate {hall commence, however 
diftant in reality the time may be, the perfon entering on it will 
not be fenfible of that diftance, and confequently there will be to 
him an apparent coincidence with the moment of his death. But 
does the apoftle any where give a hint that this is his meaning ? 
or is it what any man would naturally difcover from his words ? 
That it is exceedingly remote from the conimon ufe of language, 
I believe hardly any of thofo who favour this fcheme, will be 
partial enough to deny. Did the facred penmen then mean to 
put a cheat upon the world, and, by the help of an equiv^ocal ex- 
preffion, to flatter men with the hope of entering, the inltant they 
expire, on a ftate of felicity, when, in faft, they knew that it 
would be many ages before it would take place ? But, were the 
hypothefis about the extindlion of the mind between death and 
the refurreftion well founded, the apparent coincidence they fpeak 
of, is not fo clear as they feem to think it. For my part, I can- 
not regard it as an axiom, and I never heard of any who attempt- 
ed to demonftrate it. To me it appears merely a corollary from 
Mr Locke's do61rine, which derives our conceptions of time from 
the fucceflion of our ideas, which, whether true or falfe, is a doc 
trine to be found only among certain philofophers, and which, 
we may rcafonablv believe, never came into the heads of thofe 
to whom the gofpel in the apollolic age was announced. 

I remark, thirdly, that even the curious equivocations (or, 
perhaps more properly, mental refervation), that has been devi- 
fed for them, will not, in every cafe, fave the credit of apoftolicai 
veracity. The words of Paul to the Corinthians ate^ Knowing, thai 
luhiljl we arc at home in the hody^ we are abfent from the Lord : 
again, IVe are willing rather to be abfent from the body^ and pre - 
ftnt with the Lord. Could fuch expreffions have been ufed by 
him, if he had held it impoffible to be with the Lord, or indeed 
any where, without the body ; and that, whatever the change 
was which was made by death, he could not be in the prefence 
of the Lord, till he returned to the body ? Abfence from the 
body, and prefence with the Lord, were never, therefore, more 
unfortunately combined, than in this illuftration. Things are 
combined here as coincident, which, on the hypothefis of thofe 
gentlemen, are incompatible. If recourfe be had to the original, 
the expreffions in Greek are, if poffible, ft ill ftronger. They are, 
li whttfvin^ iy tu e-vfcxTh thofe who dwell in the bodyy who are uc^n 


finvTii xTTo T» Kv^Ht, ot o HJlaTice from the Lord ; as, on the con- 
trary, thej are «< fcc5«j{<x»Tjj £* ra a-ufictroi, thofe who have travelled 
out of the body, who are e< £v3))jti»vT£j s^^«j rev Kv^fsv, ?^oy^ who rejide, 
or artf prefent with the Lord. In the paffage to the Philippians 
alfo, the commencement of his prefence with the Lord is repre- 
fented as coincident, not with his return to the body, but with his 
leaving it, with the diffolution, not with the refloraticn, of the 

The fourth, and only other remark I fhall make, on this fub^ 
jedl, is, that from the tenor of the New Teftament, the facred 
writers appear to proceed on the fuppolition, that the foul and 
the body are naturally diftinct and feparabie, and that the foul is 
fufceptible of pain or pleafure in a ftate of feparation. It were 
endless to enumerate all the places which evince this. The ftorj 
of the rich man and Lazarus, Luke xvi. 22, 23.; the laft words 
of our Lord upon the crofs, Luke xxiii. 46. and of Stephen 
when dying ; Paul's doubts whether he was in the body or out 
of the body, when he was tranflated to the third heaven, and pa- 
radife, 2 Cor. xii. 2, 3, 4. ; our Lord's words to Thomas, to fa- 
tisfy him that he was not a fpirit, Luke xxiv. 39. ; and, to con- 
clude, the exprefs mention of the denial of fpirits, as one of the 
errors of the Sadducees, A£ls xxiii. 8. : For the Sadducees fay 
that there is no refurreBi^n^ neither angel nor fpirit^ «j;5i ^yysAer 
ft>)3e :5-»Et/^»«. All thefe are irrefragable. evidences of the general 
opinion on this fubjeft of both Jews and Chriflians. ^y fpirit ^ 
as diftinguifhed from angel^ is evidently meant the departed fpi- 
rit of a human being ; for, that man is here, before his natural 
death, poflefled of a vital and intelligent principle, which is com- 
monly called his foul or fpirit, it was never pretended that they 
denied. It has been faid, that this manner of expreffing them- 
felves has been adopted by the apoflles and evangelifts, merely 
in conformity to vulgar notions. To me it appears a conformi- 
ty, which (if the facred writers entertained the fentiments of our 
antagoniils on this article) is hardly reconcilable to the known 
fimplicity and integrity of their chara&er* It favours much 
more of the pious frauds, which became common afterwards, to 
which I own myfelf unwilling to afcribe fo ancient and fo re- 
fpeftable an origin. See Part I. of this DilTertation, § 10. 

§ 24. I (hall fubjoin a few tvords on the manner wherein the 
diftinclion has been preferved between hades and gehenna by the 
tranflators of the New Teftament ; for, as I obferved before, 
gehenna, as a name for the place of future punilhment, does not 
occur in the Old. All the Latin tranflations I have feen, obferve 
rhe diftindion. All without exception adopt the word gehenna^ 
though they do not all uniformly tranflate hades. Both the Ge- 
neva French, and Diodati, have followed the fame method. Lu- 
t?ier, on the contrary, in hi-. German verfion, has uniformly con- 


founded them, rendering both by the word hoUe. The Englifis 
tranflators have taken the fame method, and rendered both the 
Greek names by the word hell^ except in one fingle place, i Cor. 
XV. 55. where oiSj;? is tranflated grave. Moll foreign verlions 
obferve the difference. So do feme of the late Englifli tranfla- 
tors, but not all. The common method of diflinguifliing, hitherto 
obferved. has been to retain the word gehenna^ and tranflate hades 
either hell or grave^ as appeared moft to fuit the context. I have 
chofen, in this verfion, to reverfe that method, to render yur.x al- 
ways kell, and to retain the word hades. My reafons are, firfl, 
though Englilh ears are not entirely familiarized to either term, 
they are much more fo to the latter than to the former, in con- 
fequence of the greater ufe made of the latter in theological wri- 
tings. Secondly, the import of the Englifli word hell, when we 
fpeak as Chriftians, anfwers exaclly to '/sfw*, not to mk^ ; where- 
as, to this laft word we have no term in the language correfpond- 
ing. Accordingly, though, in my judgment, it is not one of 
thofe terms which admit different meanings, there has been very 
little uniformity preferved by tranflators in rendering it. 

PART iir. 

JuilTXIClM and MiT OlfCiXiflXi' 

X SHALL now ofTer a few remarks on two words that are uni- 
formly rendered by the fame Englifli word in the common ver- 
fion, between which there appears, notwithftanding, to be a real 
difference in fignification. The words are fUTKimiu and /^ncef^tXa/zxi, 
I repent. It has been obferved by feme, and, I think, with rea- 
fon, that the former denotes properly a change to the better ; the 
latter, barely a change, whether it be to the better or to the 
worfe ; that the former marks a change of mind that is durable 
and productive of confequences ; the latter expreffes only a pre- 
fent uneafy feeling of regret or forrow for what is done, without 
regard either to duration or to effedls ; in fine, that the firft may 
properly be tranflated into Engliih to reform ; the fecond, to re- 
penty in the familiar acceptation of the word. 

§ 2. The learned Grotius (whofe judgment in critical quef- 
tions is highly refpcftable) is not convinced that this diftindiion 
is well-founded. And I acknowledge that he advances fome 
plaufible things in fupport of his opinion. But as I have not 
found them fatisfaflory, I fliall alTign my reafons for thinking 
differently. Let it, in the firft place be obferved, that the im- 
port of i^iTxftiXcuM, in the explanation given, being more extenlive 



©r generical than that of ^trxyciu, it may, in many cafes, be ufed, 
without impropriety, for furxma ; though the latter, jeint; more 
limited and fpecial in its acceptation, cannot fo properly be em- 
ployed for the former. The genus includes the fpecies, not the 
fpecies the genus. 

^ 3. Admitting, therefore, that, in the expreflion in the para- 
ble quoted by Gtotius in fupport of his opinion, irsgev h (i.iTUf/.iM- 
5s«5 (tTJ!>idi, nfterrunrds he repented and went^ Matt. xxi. 29. the 
word ^£T«veji(r«; would have been appofite, becaufe the change 
fpoken of is to the better, and had an efFeft on his conduct ; ftili 
the word /itiTxuiXcuxt is not improper, no more than the Englifli 
word repented^ though the change, as far as it went, was a real 
reformation. Every one who reforms, repents ; but every one 
who repents does not reform. I ufe the wfids entirely according 
to the popular idiom, and not according to the definitions of the- 
ologians ; nay, I fay further, that in this inllance the Greek 
word uiTXfc-Xnftxt is more proper than ^irsoitiu, and the Englifh re~ 
pent than reform. The reafon is, becaufe the latter expreflion in 
each language is not fo well adapted to a fingle aSion, as to a 
habit of acling, whereas the former may be equally applied to 
either. Now it is only one a£lion that is mentioned in the pa- 

§ 4. In regard to the other paflage quoted byOrotius, to fliew 
that ftiTflCMMt alfo is ufed where, according to the doftrine above 
explained, it ought to be furuuiMia., I think he has not been more 
fortunata- than in the former. The paflage is, where it is faid of 
Efau, Heb. xii. 17. Te iaoiv that afterward., when he would 
have inherited the hlejjing^ he was rejeBed. For he found no 
place of repentance, liirxyoixi; tottoh ov^ ev^j, though he fought it care- 
fully with tears. Grotius, in his comment on the place, acknow- 
ledges that the word uiravcix is not ufed here literally, but by a 
metonomy of the efFedl for the caufe. '• He found no fcope for 
' efFefting a change in what had been done, a revocation of the 

* blefling given to Jacob, with a new grant of it to himfelf, or at 

* leaft of fuch a blefling as might, in a great meafure, fuperfede 

* or cancel the former.' This change was what he found no pof- 
fibility of effecting, however earnefliy and movingly he fought it. 
It is plain, that neither |t«£T«vo««, nor f^irxfuMix^ in their ordinary 
acceptation, expreifes this change. For that it was not any re- 
pentance or reformation on himfelf, which he found no place 
for, is manifeft both from the paflage itfelf, and from the ftory 
to which it refers. From the conftru6tion of the words we learn, 
that what Efau did not And, was what he fought carefully with 
tears. Now, what he fought carefully with tears, was, as is 
evident from the hiftory. Gen. xxvii. 30. &.c. fuch a change in 
his father as I have mentioned. This was what he urged fo af- 
fedingly, and this was v.'hat he, uotwithflanding, found it im- 

' poflTible 


poflible to obtain. Now, I acknowledge that it is only by a 
trope that this can be called either /niTnttm or furxfiOMu. That it 
was not literally the regret or grief implied in f*iTaui>.u» that he 
fought, is as clear as day, lince the oaanuer in which he applied 
to his father, fliewed him to be already pofllffed of the mott 
pungent grief for what had happened. Nay, it appears from 
the hiftory, that the good old Patriarch, when he difcovcred the 
deceit that had been pradlifed on him, was very flrongly afFe(flcd 
alfo ; for it is faid, ver. 33. that Ifaac trembled very exceedingly. 
Now, as ftiTuiota. implies a change of conduct, as well as forrow 
for what is paft, it comes nearer tlie kope of the facred writer 
than fxiTciyAXuei.. If, therefore, there is fomc deviation from ftri^ 
propriety in the word f/Aretvtix here ufed, it is unqueftionable that 
to fubftitute in its pluce fiircuOnce, and reprefent Efau as feeking, 
in the bitternefs of grief, that he, or even his father, might be 
grieved, would include, not barely an impiopriety, or deviation 
from the literal import, but an evident abfurdity. 

§ 5. Faffing thefe examples, which are all that have been pro- 
duced on that fide, are the words in general fo promifcuoufly ufed 
by facred writers (for it is only about words which feldom oc- 
cur in Scripture, that we need recur to the ufage of profane au- 
thors"), as that we cannot, with certainty, or at leaft with proba/- 
bility, mark the difference ? Though ] do not believe this to be 
the cafe, yet as I do not think the matter fo clear as in the fup- 
pofed fynonymas already difcufled, I fhall impartially and briefly 
Hate what appears to me of weight on both fides. 

§ 6. Firft, in regard to the ufage of the Seventy, it cannot be 
denied that they employ the two words indifcriminately ; and, 
if the prefent enquiry were about the ufe obferved in their ver- 
fion, we could not, with juftice, fay, that they intended to mark 
any diftin6lion between them. They are, bendes, ufed indiffe- 
rently in tranflating the fame Hebrew words, fo that there is 
every appearance that with them they were fynonymous. But 
though the ufe of the Seventy adds confiderable Itrength to any 
argument drawn from the ufe of the New Teftament writers, 
\vhen the ufages of both are the fame, or even doubtful ; yet, 
when they differ, the former, however clear, cannot, in a quef- 
tion which folely concerns the ufe that prevails in the New Tef- 
tament, invalidate the evidence of the latter. We know, that in 
a much fhorter period than that which intervened between the 
tranflation of the Old Teftament, and the compofition of the 
New, fome words may bec-^ae obfolete, and others may confi- 
derablv alter in fignification. It is comparatively bvit a fhort 
time (being lefs than two centuries) that has intervened between 
the making of our own verfion and the prefent hour ; and yet, in 
regard to the language of that verfion, both have already hap- 


pened, as fhall be fliewn afterwards *. Several of its words are 
antiquated, and others bear a different meaning now from what 
they did then. 

§ 7. Let us therefore recur to the ufe of the New Teflament. 
And here I obferve, firft, that where this change of mind is in- 
culcated as a duty, or the neceffity of it mentioned as a doftrine 
of Chriftianity, the terms ?.re invariably furuyaa and fUTxttttt. Thus 
John the Baptift and our Lord, both began their preaching with 
this injunftion, f^iTicciTi, Math.iii. 2. iv. 17. The difciples that 
were fent out to warn and prepare men for the manifeftation of 
the JMeffiah, are faid to have gone and preached />« f^iTx»en<ru(ri^ 
Mark vi. la. The call which the Apollles gave to all hearers 

Was, (HJT«»«5i5-4«Ts, X'XI i:Tti-fii4'CCri, KX( ^UTTTl^^ATU WctTOi VfAUi, ACIS 11. 38. 

lii. if), to reform their lives, return to God, and be baptized. 
Peter's command to Simon Magus, on difcovering the corruptioa 
of his heart, is, KJi-aivujicro xn-o t>>5 Kstx.tu<; TauT;!j, ch. via. 2fl. When 
it is mentioned as an order from God, ■;i:ct^ciyyiXXu rati avd^uTrtii -xetfi 
"Trairtt'^v fiirumiv, ch. xvii. 30. The duty to which Paul every 
where exhorted was, fUTuyonv kxi t'rti-^i(piiy tvi rc¥ ©wf, ch. xxvi. 20.- 
The charge to reformation given to the Afiatic churches in the 
Apocalypfe, is always exprelTed by the word ftirxvcyic-tt, and theii 
failure in this particular by ov fA-Tutr.s-i, Rev. ii. and iii. paffim. 
The neceffity of this change for preventing final ruin, is thus re- 
peatedly expreffed by our Lord, Eay f^tf uirxyonn, w^fTf; aToXuT^i, 
Luke xiii. 3, 5. And, in regard to the noun, wherever mention 
is made of this change as a duty, it is f£irxv»iXt not furxuiXiM. h 
was u? tcirxmesv that our Lord came to call finners, Math. ix. 13. ; 
the baptilm which John preached was /ixxrij-f^x iHTxvux;, Mark 
i.4 . The fruits of a good life, which he enjoined them to pro- 
duce, were «|<»f f^trxvaiw,, Math. iii. 8. What the Apoftle-j 
preached to all nations, in their Mailer's name as inieparably 
connefted, were /^-rxveixv x«« x(pi<rn u^x^tiv^ Lukexxiv. 47. Again, 
it is given as the fum of their teaching, t))» m rov ©mv ^jt«k»«», m^ 
'TZi'^.i Hi rev Kv^iov -f.y.m Uyovy X^irov, Acls XX, 21. The fame word 
is employed when the otTer of fuch terms is exhibited as the re- 
fult of divine grace, Aftsxi. 18. Now, in a queftion of criti- 
cifm, it is hardly poffible to find flronger evidence of the diftiuc- 
tion than that which has now been produced. 

§ 8. There is a great difference between the mention of any 
thing as a duty, efpecially of that confequence, that the promifti 
or threats of religion depend on the performance or negleft of it ; 
and the bare recording of an event as faft. In the former, the 
words ought to be as fpecial as poffible, that there may b? no 
miftake in the application of the promife, no pretence for faying; 
that more is exacted than was expreffed in the condition. Bur, 
^n relating fa6ts, it is often a matter of indifference, v;hether the 

♦ Diff.XI. Partll. 5 5. &c. 


terms be general or fpecial. Provided nothiug falfe be added, 
it is not expefted that every thing true ftiould be included. This 
is the lefs neceffary when, in the fequel of a (lory, circumftances 
«re mentioned, which fiipply any defeft arifing from the genera- 
lity of the terms. Under this deCcription may be included both 
the paflage formerly confidered, i^-s^av uirxf4,tXr,hii XTnxSi ; and that 
other connected with it, in the reproach pronounced againft the 
Pharifees, for their impenitence and incredulity under the Bap- 
tiil's minillry, » f/ATif*i>i?i6jiTi vn^ov, t» vi'n'juxi avru, Matth. xxi. 32. 
The laft claufe in each perfe6tly afcertains the import of the 
fentence, and fupplies every deleft. 

§ 9. Let it further be obferved, that when fuch a forrow is 
alluded to, as either was not produftive of reformation, or, in 
the nature of the thing, does not imply it, the words ^st«»»<« and 
fAirxjo'.i) are never ufed. Thus the repentance of Judas, which 
drove him to defpair, is exprefled by jWST«|tti/.>)^r.'5, Matth xxvii. 3. 
When Paul, writing to the Corinthians, mentions the forrow his 
former letter had given them, he fays, that confidering the good 
effefts of that forrow, he does not repent that he had written it, 
though he had formerly repented. Here no more can be under- 
ftood by his own repentance fpoken of, but that uneafinefs which 
a good man feels, not from the confcioufnefs of having done 
wrong, but from a tendernefs for others, and a fear, left that 
which, prompted by duty, he had faid, fliould have too flrong an 
eftecl upon them. This might have been the cafe, without any 
fault in him, as the confequence of a reproof depends much on 
the temper with which it is received. His words are E< iXwriax 
•juxi 'ti T?) £7r«r»>.>) ov f^ira,u.i>.»iMci 11 ymi ^6T£,t6£Ao^))», 2 Cor. vil. o. As 
it would have made nonfenfe of the paflage to have rendered the 
verb in EngHfh. reformed inftead of repented^ \\\g. \t^x\i ^ixxmu 
inftcad oi furxfiihaiAxiy would have been improper in Greek. 

There is one paflage in which this Apoftle has in effeft em- 
ployed both words, and in fuch a manner, as clearly flio'vvs the 

difference. 'H x«t« ©esv >.-J7!-A ^irxvetxy u^ trurvi^ixf uu'.Tcifii>.riTO)i xecTio- 

yx^irctt, ver. 10. : in the common verfion, Godly forrow worketb 
repentance to falvation not to be repented of. There is a parono- 
mafia here, or play upon the word repent^ which is not in the 
original As both words f^irxvau and fAiretfo^ouxi are uniformly 
tranflated by the fame Englifli word, this figure of fpeech could 
hardly have been avoided in the common verfion. Now, had 
the two words been alfo fynonyrnous in Greek (as that trope, 
when it comes in the way, is often adopted by the facred writ- 
ers), it had been more natural to fay yATKitixi xfitTxyonroy. Whereas 
the change of the word plainly fhows, that in the Apoftle's 
judgment, there would have been fomething incongruous in that 
exprefllon. In the firft vyord y.iTxvoi»f, is expreffed the effeft 
of godly forrow, which is reformation, a duty required by our 



religion as neceflary to falvation. In the olher xuirxuiMTO''-) there 
is no allufion to a further reformation, but to a further change, it 
being only meant to fay, that the reformation effecled is fuch as 
{hall never be regretted, never repented of. As into the import 
of this word there enters no confideration of goodncfs or badntis, 
but barely of change, from whatever motive or caufe ; the word 
ciuiTK.uiMrei comes to Cigmiy Jleady, immutahk^ irrevocable. This 
is evidently the meaning of it in that expreffion, h^.ntf.uO.fiTx t» 
Xu^tr^Tx Kxi » KM^i? Tn 0£», Rom. xi. 29. which our tratiflators 
render, the gifts and calling of God are without repentance ; more 
appofitely and perfpicuoully, are irrt vocable. For tliis reafon 
the word u'.rxfAiXcuxi is ufed when the fentence relates to the con- 
flancy or immutability of God. Thus n^sc-s Kvgioi text ov (aitx^'.- 
XT,h<riTxt, Heb. vii. 21. : The Lord hath fivorn and will not re- 
pent., that is, alter his purpofe. 

The word «^«T£«v«))Tev. on the contrary, including fomewhat of 
the fenfe of its primitive, exprefles not, as the other, unchanged 
or unchangeable, but unrefornied., unreformohle^ impenitent. The 
Apoflle fays, addrefling himfelf to the obftinate infidel, xxrx t/.v 
c-kX^^othtx an Kxi xuiTxyearo* kx^'^ixv, Rom. ii. 5 : After thy hen dnejs 
and impenitent, or irreclaimable heart. The word a^irxvaviTe?, in 
the New Teftament llyle, ought analogically to exprefs a wretch- 
ed ftate, as it lignifies the want of that ^-axyotx-, which the Gofpel 
every where reprefents as the indifpenfable dut^ of the lapfed, 
and therefore as effential to their becomir.g Chriftians ; but the 
term xuirxyAMroi is noway fitted to this end, as it exprefles only 
the abfence of that uirxfj.iXux^ which is nowhere reprefented as a 
virtue, or required as a duty, and which may be good, bad, or 
indifferent, according to its obje£l. Thus I have Ihown, that on 
every pertinent occafion, the diftinftion is facredly obferved by 
the penmen of the New Teflament, and that the very few in- 
ftances in which it may appear otherwife at firft glance, are 
found to be no exceptions when attentively examined. 

^ ic. Having now afcertained the diftindlion, it maybe alket', 
How the words ought to be difcriminated in a tranflation ? In 
my opinion, unxvoiu^ in moll cafes, particularly where it is ex- 
prcffed as a command, or mentioned as a duty, Ihould be render- 
ed by the Englilh verb reform, fAirxvotx, by reformation ; and 
that fciTx/xiXofAxt ought to be tranflated repent. MirxfuXux is defin- 
ed by Phavorinus duo-x^i?-r.<rii nrt TriTr^ayuivon, diJ/atisfu6iion with 
one'' i f elf , for what one has done, which exaftly hits the meaning 
of the word repentance ; whereas jxctxvoi* is defined v^Jio-** x-^o 

■T^TXKi-f.iX'TUI ITTt TO tVXVTiOV XyxSoV IXl^PO^lj^ aud K TT^Oi Tfl KgiiTTCV iVI^^O-'A 

a genuine correBion of faults, and a change from worfe to better. 
We cannot more exadlly define the word reformation. It may 
be faid that, in ufing the terms repent and repentance, as our 
tranflators have done, for both the original terms, there is no 
Vol. I. D d rilk 

'ilO P R E L I M I N A R x 

riik of any dangerous error ; becaufe, in the theological defini- 
tions of repentance, given by almoft all parties, fuch a reforma- 
tion of the difpofition is included, as will infallibly produce a re- 
formation of conduft. This, however, does not fatisfy. Our 
Lord and his Apolllcs accommodated themfelves in their flyle to 
the people whom they addreffed, by employing words according 
to the received and vulgar idiom, and not according to the tech- 
nical ufe of any learned do£lors. It was not to fuch that his 
doftrine was revealed, but to thofe who, in refpeft of acquired 
knowledge, were babes, Matth. xi. 25. The learned ufe is known 
comparatively but to a few : and it is certain that with us, ac- 
cording to the common acceptation of the words, a mr.n may be 
faid jufl; as properly to repent of a good, as of a bad, action. A 
covetous man will repent of the alms which a fudden tit of pity 
may nave induced him to beflow. Befides, it is but too evident, 
that a man may often juftly be f?.id to repent, who never reforms. 
In neither of thefe ways do I find the word ^-.Tcoioii,) ever ufed. 

1 have another objecfion to the v/ord repent. It unavoidably 
appears to lay the principal ftrefs on the forrow or remorfe which 
it implies for former mifconduft. Now this appt-ars a fecordary 
matter at the moft, and not to be the idea fuggelkd by the Greek 
verb. The primary objedl is a real change of condud. The 
Apoftle exprefsly diftinguifhes it from forrow, in a paflagc late- 
ly quoted, reprefenting it as what the forrow, if of a godly fort, 
termmates in, 'or produces, 'h y.itra, ©eoi' Xnxij f/ATxvoixy K<in -^yx^iieu, 
rendered in the common verfion, Godly forrow voorketh repent- 
ance. Now, if he did not mean to fay that the thing was caufed 
by itfelf, or that repentance worketh repentance (and who will 
charge him with this abfurdity ?) li k^tv. ©sev hv%v^ is one thing, and 
ftiTuvoix is another. But it is certain that our word repentance 
implies no more in common ufe, even ia its beft fenfe, than 
j« KXTcc Qiov Aw7r;j, and often not fo much. It is confequently not 
a juft interpretation of the Greek word ^j7«vo;«, which is nol; »i x«t« 
Q>to9 Awjrji, but its certain confequence. Grief or remorfe, com- 
pared with this, is but an accidental circumftance. Who had 
more grief than Judas, whom it drove to defpondeucy and felf- 
deflru£tion ? To him the Evangelift applies very properly the 
term fiiTu^tiXnkt';, which we as properly rranllate repented. He 
was in the higheft degree diffatisfied with himfelf. But, to ihow 
that a great deal more is neceffary^ in the Chriftian, neither our 
Lord himfelf, as we have feen, nor his forerunner John, nor liis 
Apoftles and minifters who followed, ever expreiTed themfelves 
in this manner, when recommending to their hearers the great 
duties of Chriflianity. They never called out to the people, 
uiTxuiXir^iy but always uirxvoim. If they were fo attentive to 
this diftinftion, in order to prevent men, in fo important an ar- 
ticle, from placing their duty in a barren remorfe, however vio- 
lent J 


lent ; we ought not furely to exprefs this capital precept of our 
religion, bj a term that is jufl as well adapted to the cafe of Ju- 
das, as to that of Peter. For the Greek word fxiTUfuXo^xiy though 
carefully avoided by the infpired writers, in expreffing our duty, 
is fully equivalent to the Englifti word repent. 

$11.1 fhall now, ere I conclude this fubjeft, confider briefly 
in what manner fome of the principal trar;llators have rendered 
the words in queftion into other languages. I fhall begin with 
the Syriac, being the moft refpe^able, on the fcore of antiquity, 
of all we are acquainted with. In this venerable verlion, which 
has ferved as a model to interpreters in the Ealf, in like man- 
ner as the Vulgate has ferved to thofe in the Welt, the dif- 
tinftion is uniformly preferved. MsT^vosiv is rendered ^"'in thub^ 
to reform, to return to God, to amend one's life ; y.tTumm {^mUn 
thebutha, reformation ; fUTXfuMc-litxt is rendered ^f "IH thun. to re- 
pent^ to be forry for what one has done. Nor are thefe Syriac 
words ever confounded as fynonymous, except in the Apocalypfe, 
which, though now added in the printed editions, is no part of 
that ancient tranflarion, but was made many centuries after. 

The fecond place in point of antiquity is, no doubt, due to the 
Vulgate, where, I acknowledge, there is no diftinftion made. 
The ufual term for uirxvax is pcenitentia^ for ^-.Tayow and fciraui^o- 
fixi indifcriminately, panitcntiam ago, pceniter.tiam babeo, pceniteo 
or me panitet. Thefe can hardly be laid to exprefs more than 
the Englifh words reperAance and repent. MiTavoixv AuirxtuXratv is 
not improperly tendered pcenitenttamfabi/em, agteebly to an ac- 
ceptation of the term above taken notice of. 

Beza, one of the moft noted, and by Proteftants mcll imitated, 
of all the Latin tranfiators fiiice the reformation, has carefully 
obferv^ed the diftinction, wherever it was of confequence ; for, 
as I remarked, there are a few cafes in which either term might 
have been ufed in the original, and concerning which, a trar.fla- 
tor mull be direded by the idiom of the tongue in which he 
writes. The fame diftinftion had been made before, though not 
with perfedl uniformity, by the tranflators of Zuric. Beza's 
word for itiTuym} is re/ipifco^ and for ftiTxmx, rejipifcentia. To 
this laft term he was led both by analogy, and (if not by claffi- 
cal authority) by the authority of early ecclefiaftical writers, 
which, in the tranflation of holy writ, is authority fufficient. 
Thefe words have this advantage oi poe niter e and poenitentia, that 
they always denote a change of fome continuance, and a change 
to the better. For uirxfuXcutii his word is pcenitere. Thus ^st«- 
^iX-Aiiii, fpoken of Judas, is pcemtens : Mirxvaxy xfAirauiMroi, reji- 
pifccntiam cujui nunquam pccniteat, in which the force of both 
words is very well exprefttd. So is alfo xuixx^trtani kx^^ix*, cor 
quod refipijc:re r.efcit. Erafmus one of the earlieft tranflators on 
the Rornifii fide, ules both ^efipijco and fcsmttntiam ago, but 

V ith 


with no difcrimination. They are not only both employed in 
rendering the fame word ^£T«vfl£4», but even when the fcope is the 
lame. Thus ft-ix^ouii in the imperative, is at one time refipifcitey 
at another panitentiam agite : fo that liis only view feenis to 
have been to diverfify his flyle. 

Caftalio, one of the mofl eminent Latin Proteflant tranflators, 
has been fenfible of the dillindlion, and careful to prefervc it in 
bis verfion. But, as his great aim was to give a claffical air 
to the books of Scripture, in order to engage readers of tafle 
who affected an eltgant and copious di£lion ; he has disfigured, 
with hib adventitious ornaments, the native fimplicity which fo 
remarknbly diftinguiflies the facred penmen, and is, in fa£l, one 
of their greateft ornaments. We can more eafily bear rufticity 
than affedation, efpeciaily on the mod ferious and important 
fubjefts. Amongft other arts, by which Caftalio has endeavour- 
ed to recommend his work, one is a lludied variety in the phrafes, 
that the ear may not be tired by too frequent recurrence to the 
fame founds. The words under confideration afford a flrong ex- 
ample. The verb fUTateiu is tranflated by him I know not how 
many different ways. It is /e corri^ere, vitam corrigere^ redire 
ad frugem^ redire ad fanitatem, reverti ad Janitatem ; when the 
vices which we are required to amend are mentioned, the phrafe 
is, dejc'ifcere a Jua pravitate, defijlere a turpitudine, dejijiere a fuis 
operihus^ tmpudicitia fua recedere^ Jua homicidia^ SiC. omittere. 
MfTccvoia partakes of the like variety. It is emendata vita, vita 
emeridatio, correEla vita, vita correSiio, morum corre£iio, correBi 
mores^ corrigenda vita, fanitat^ panitentia ; and in the oblique 
cafes, Jrugem and honam frugeni. For ^ir»u.i>.ouu.t, I only find 
the two words pcE nit ere and mutare Jcntentiam. MtTuvotxy ctfJii-retyA- 
/i)Tey is not badly rendered vita corre6iione77i nunquam paniten- 
dam, a/*iT»u,iXr,T» %oi.^ic-ft,a,T* muTiera irrevocabiha, and KfAvruinftoi 
Kx^ix. ^ebioratus animus. 

Di -»dati, the Italian tranflator, in every cafe of moment, ren- 
ders the verb /tuTccttta ravederfi. which in the Vocabolario della 
Crufca is explained rejipifcere, ad mentis fanitatem redire j but 
for the noun «{t«»«/«, he always ufes penitenza, and for, 
very properly pent-rji. The Geneva French, tranflates f^irxiaiu, 
s''amender, f4.-.T»f4.iXottxt., fe repentir, and fi-axvctx repentance. In 
both thefe verlions they ufe, in rendering fcsrxtotxv xuirxfiiXr,Toif 
the fame paronomafia w^hich is in the common Englifh verfion. 
Diodaci has penitenza della quale huom non Ji pente. The Ge- 
nev.i French has repentance dont on ne fe repent. The other paf- 
fages-^^-iifo above quoted from the original, they tranflate in near- 
ly l'! fame manner. Luther, in his German tranflation, hasge- 
neiaily dilt:n uiihed the two verbs, rendering ft,vtxitni hvjfe cbun, 
and uiTxuiXiF^xi reucn or gcreucn. 




Ay(«5 and eaioq, 

X SHALL give, as another example of words, fuppofed to be fy- , 
noiiymous, the terms uym and oc-to^. The former is, if I mif- 
rake not, uniformly rendered ia the New Teliament, boly\, or, 
when ufed fubflantively in the plm-al, y?/i'«/j-. The latter, except 
in one inflance, is always rendered by the fame term, not only 
in the Englifh Bible, but in moil modern tranflations. Yet that 
thefe two Greek words are altogether equivalent, there is, in my 
opinion, good reafon to doubt. Both belong to the fecond clals 
of words, which I explained in a former Diflertation *. They 
relate to manners, and are therefore not fo eafily defined. Nor 
are fuch words in one language ever found exactly to tally with 
thofe of another. There are, however, certain means, by which 
the true fignitication may, in moft cafes, be, very nearly, if not 
entirely, reached. I iliall, therefore, firft mention my reafons 
for thinking that the two words kytor, and aV<ej in the New Tefta- 
ment are not lynonymous, and then endeavour to afcertain the 
precife meaning of each. 

§ 2. That there is a real difference in fignification between 
the two Greek words, notwithftanding their affinity, my firft 
reafon for thinking is, becaufe in the Septuagint, which is the 
foundation of the Helleniftic idiom, one of them is that by which 
one Hebrew word, and the other that by which another, not ac 
all fynonymous, is commonly tranflated. 'A'/<«s is the word ufed 
for (i'llp kadoJJj^fan6ius^ l^oly^ ia-tag for TZDH chn/id^ benignus, 

§ 3. My fecond reafon is, becaufe thefe words have been un- 
derftood by the ancient Greek tranflators to be fo diftindl in fig- 
nification, that not in one fingle inflance is the Hebrew word 
kadojh rendered by the Greek tV<of, or chafid by <ty<es. What 
gives additional weight to this reafon, is the conlideration, that 
both words frequently occur ; and that the Greek tranflators, 
though they have not been uniform in rendering either, but have 
adopted different words, on different occafions, for tranflating each ; 
have, neverthelefs, not m a fmgle inflance, adopted any of thofe 
terms, for rendering one of theie Hebrew words, which they had 
adopted for rendering the other. Few words occur oftener than 
kadojh. But, though it is, beyond comparifon, ofteneft tranflat- 
ed (i'/'ojj it^ ii" "*^t fo always. In one place it is rendered x«^«go5^ 
inundus^ clean ; the verb iadajjj^ the etymon is rendered 2o|«^8<», 
giorrJicai-Cy to glorify^ u.^u.fii^x^u') afcendere facere^ to cavfe to af- 

fcend i 
* DhT. II. § 4. 


cend^ Kx^xg^i^w purgare, to cleanfe, kyn^ui purificare^ to purify^ as 
well as u.yi»^u)i and Ka^^yucZuv fanciijicare, to hallow, to fanBify ; 
but not once bj (J5-<os, or anj of its conjugates. On the other 
hand, chajid is rendered £>.£;;,«*•> and 7rc>.-ji>.ir,; nnjer'icon, nierdfuly 
iv>iufir.i piuj, devout, and by fome other words, but net once by 
uyi6i, or by any of its conjugates, or by any of the terms em- 
ployed in rendering kadojlj ; a certain fign, that to the old Greek, 
tranflators, feveral other words appeared to have more coinci- 
dence with either, than thefe had with each other. 

§ 4. The third reafon, which inclines me to think that the 
two words are not fynonymous, is, becaufe I find, on examiamg 
and comparing, that there is a confiderable difference in the ap- 
plication of them, not only in the Old Teftament, but in the 
New. In regard to the word <i'/<fl;, it is applied not only to per- 
fons, but to things inanimate, as the fncred utenfils and vellments ; 
to times, as their jubilees and fabbaths, their folemn feflivals and 
falls ; and to places, as the land of Judea, the city of Jerufalem, 
the mountain whereon Hood the temple, the temple with its 
courts ; but more efpecially the hcufe v^iich the courts encloled, 
the outer part whereof was called, by way of eminence, ^ kyix, 
fcilicit c-x<v)j, the holy place, and the inner >) kyu*, kyiti, the holy of 
holies, or the mojl holy place. Now I find nothing like this ia 
the ufe made of the word as-ioj, which, as far as 1 can difcover, is 
applied only to perfons, or beings fuiceptible of character. The 
■zx orrtx Ak.^J, Ifa. Iv. 3. Ads xiii. 34. cannot be accounted an ex- 
ception. The word ul'ed by the Prophet is ICH chefed^ benig- 
nitas, not Tdl chajid^ benignus, and is not improperly rendered 
in our verfion mercies. Nor is the «V«zj yji^ni of the Apoftle, 
I Tim. ii. 8. an exception, this being manifellly not a literal, but 
a tropical ufe of the epithet, wherein that is applied to the in- 
flrument, which, in ilritlntfs, is applicable only to the agent ; as 
■when we fay zjlanderous tongue and guilty hands, we are always 
underftood as applying the qualities of Jlander and guilt, to the 
perfon of whofe tongue and hands we are fpeaking. 

§5.1 obferve, further, that even when Aya^ is applied to per- 
fons, it has not always a relation to the moral charadler, but of- 
ten to fomething, which, in regard to the perfon, is merely cir- 
cumftantial and external. It is, in this refpe6l, that the children 
of Ifrael are called a holy nation, being confecratcd by their cir- 
cumcifion, notwithlfanding that they were a rebellions and lliff- 
necked people, and rather worfe, inftead of better, than other na- 
tions ; as their great legillator Mofes often declares to them. In 
this fenfe the tribe of Levi was holier than any other tribe, pure- 
ly becaufe feleded for the facred fervice ; the priefthood had 
more hoUnefs than the other Levites, and the high-priell uas the 
holiejl of all. There was the fame gradation in thefe, as ii; the 
courts ind houfe of the temple. It is in this fenfe I undeiftand 



tlie word «7<«5, as applied to Aaron ; They envied Mofes, alfoy in 
the camp, and Aaron the faint of the Lord^ Pfal. cvi. 16. ; re* 
iyioi' K«j§<&f. Aaron's perfonal charafter does not feem to have en- 
titled him to this dill:in6tion above Mofes, and the whole nation. 
Nor does the title feem to have been peculiarly applicable to 
him, in any other fenfe than that now mentioned, namely, that 
he was the only one of the people who carried on his forehead 
the fignature of his confecration, hohnefs to the Lord, uyMs-fnc 

§ 6. On the other hand, it does not appear, from any clear 
paffage, either in the Old Teftament or in the Nev/, that the 
Hebrew word chafd, or the Greek hofios, are fufceptible of this 
interpretation. I fay, any clear pallage ; for I acknowledge 
there is one, the only one I can find in either, wherein the ap- 
plication of this term, as commonly underftood, is limilar to that 
of the other lately quoted from the Pfalms. It is in Mofes' be- 
nediction of the tribes, immediately before his death : Of Levi 
he /aid, Let thy Thummim and thy Urim be with thy holy one^ 
whom thou didft prove at Maffah^ and with who?7i thou didft 
ftrive at the waters of Meribah^ Deut, sxxiii. 8. Not to men- 
tion, that in the Samaritan copy of the Pentateuch (^which ii' 
fome things is more correft than the Hebrew), there is a diffe- 
rent reading of the word here rendered eVfoj ; the whole paffage 
is exceedingly obfcure ; infomuch that it is impoffibie to fay 
with certainty who is here called chafidecha, which oar tranfla- 
tors have rendered thy holy one. The words which follow ferve 
rather to increafe the darknefs, than to remove it. 

Houbigant, in his valuable edition of the Old Teftament, with 
a new Latin tranflation, and notes, will not admit that it can re- 
fer to Aaron or his fucceffors in the pontificate ; and, in my 
judgment, fupports his opinion with unanfwerable reafons. One 
is, that the term chafd, hojlos, is never applied to Aaron, nor to 
the priefthood in general, nor to any prieil as fuch. Another if, 
that, though we often hear of the j>eople's proving God at Maf- 
iah, and contending with him at the waters of Meribah, "we no- 
where hear that they proved or tempted Aaron, and flrove with 
him there. Indeed, if they had been faid to have tempted Mo- 
fes, the expreffion, though unufual, had been Icfs improper, be- 
caufe the immediate recourfe of the people, in their flrait, was 
to Mofes. They chid with him, we are told, and were almofl 
ready to ftone him, Exod. xvii. i. &c. Numb. xx. 3 &:c. Hou- 
bigant's opinion is, that by thy holy one, is here meant Jcfiis 
Chrift, who is diftinguifhed by this appellation in the Book of 
Pfalms. Thou %uilt not fvffer thy holy one, "ITDH chaftdecha^ 
rov ia-icv cfg, to fee corruption, Pfal. xvi. 10. And to fay that they 
ftrove with, tempted or proved Chrifl: in the wildernefs, is con- 
formable to the language of Scripture. Neither let us tempt 



Cbrift^ fays Paul, l Cor. x. 9. as fome of them alfo tempted, re- 
ferring to what happened in the defert, and were deftroyed of 
ferpents. Houbigant's verfion (the words being underflood as 
addrefled to Levi, according to the original) is Levi atitem dixity 
Thummim tvum^ tuumque Urim viri fanEii tui ejt^ quern tu tentn- 
tionis in loco tentafti^ cui convitium fectfti^ apud aquas contradic- 
tionis. It muft be owned, that he has added fome plaufibility to 
his glofs upon the paffage, by the turn he has given to the fol- 
lowing verfes. But it is fufficient for my purpofe to fay, in re- 
gard to the negative part of his remark, that he is certainly right 
in maintaining that the exprelTion does not refer to Aaron and 
his fucceflbrs. But as to the poutive part, that it refers to our 
Lord Jefus Chrift, will perhaps be thought more queftionable. 
His being ftyled thy holy one^ T«y oTtan th, in words addreffed to 
God, is not authority enough for underftanding him to be meant 
by Tw 071U 5-s, to thy holy one^ in words addrefled to Levi. 

i 7. But to return : another difference in the application of 
the words «-/<«; and oa-ir,',, is that the latter is fomeiimes found 
coupled with other epithets expreflive of different good qualities, 
and applied to charafter or moral condu6t, each exhibiting, as it 
were, a feature* diftinfl from thofe exhibited by the refl. The 
word «-/(«? is not commonly accompanied with other epithets ; 
when it is, they are of fuch a general nature, as rather to afFeft 
the whole charafter than feparate parts of it. The author of 
the Epiftle to the Hebrews fays of our Lord, Heb. vii. 26. that 
he was oa-mu cty-xxoi, u^uixvrtg, in the common tranflation, holy^ 
harmlefsy undefited. But the Englifh word holy^ being general 
in its fignification, adds nothing to the import of the other epi- 
thets, cfpecially of «i4;«>Ta?, and confequently does not hit the 
exa£l meaning of the word o3-<55, which here probably denotes 
pious ; the two other epithets, being employed to exprefs com- 
pendioufly the regards due to others, and to himfelf. Paul has 
given us another example in his charafter of a bifhop, who, he 

fays. Tit. i. 8. OUO"ht to be <p«Ao|;voJ, <piX»yxB-ov, o-i^jp^ovx, }ix.citov, onaf, 

i'/K^nTA' To render the word icno-, in this verfe koly^ is charge- 
able with the fame fault as in the former inflance. The fame 
thinn- liolds alfo of the adverb oiriw,. Now the word «y«e5 is not 
included in this manner, in an enumeration of good qualities. 
It is commonly found fingle, or joined with other epithets equal- 
ly general. The expreffion -ufed by the apoflle, Rom. vii. 12. 

« fiiv yoi.i.6^ xyto;, y,xi k fn»M kyix, xss: %ix.xtx, y.u.1 ctya^A : The law in" 

deed is holy, and the commandment holy, and juft, and good — is 
uo exception ; for we have no enumeration here of the virtues of 
an individual, but of the general good qualities that may be af- 
cribed to God's law. And though the terms are equally general, 
they are not fynonymous ; they prefent us with the different af- 
pefts of the fame objed. To fay that the law of God is holy, 



is to teprefent it as awful to creatures fuch as we; to fay u is 
jujl, is to remind us that it is obligatory ; and to fay it is good^ 
is to tell us, in other words, that it is adapted to promote univer- 
fal happiiiefs, and therefore lovely. 

§ 8. Having affigned my reafons for thinking that the two 
words sV.*; and «'/«•; in the New Tellanient are not fynonymous, 
I fiiall now, as i propofed, endeavour to afcertain the precife 
meaning of each. I believe it will appear, on examination, that 
the aftlnity between the two Greek words, in their ordinary and 
claflical acceptation, is greater than between the Hebrew words, 
in lieu of which they have been fo generally fubfUtulcd by the 
Seventy. This, which may have originated from fome pe^-iliar- 
ity in the idiom of Alexandria, has, I fuppofe, led the tranilaturs 
of both Teftaments to regard them often as equivalent, and to 
trandate them by the fame word. The authors of the Vulgate, 
in particular, have almoil always employed functus in expound- 
ing both. This has miQcd mod modern interpreters in the Well. 
As to our own tranflators, the example has, doubtlefs, had fome 
influence. Ncverthclefs they have in this not fo implic tiy fol- 
lowed the Vulgate in their veriion of the Old Tcilament, as in 
that of the New. Let it be premifed, that the ligniiications of 
words in any nation do not remain invariably the fame. In a 
courfe of years, much fewer than two thcufand, which are rec- 
koned to have elapfcd from the commencement to the finifhing 
of the facred canon, very confiderable changes happen in the 
meanings of words in the fame language, and among the fame 
people. Now, to trace the gradations and nicer fhades of mean- 
ing, which diftinguiJi different periods, is one of the moil ditH- 
cult, but moft important, tafks of criticifm. 

§ 9. In regard to the ucrd kadojh. bag'ios, I acknowledge that 
it does not itzva. to me to have had originally any relation to 
character or morals. Its primitive fignification appears to have 
been clean ; firfl:, in the literal fenfe, as denoting tree from all 
filth, dirt, or naftinefs ; ftcondly, as exprelling what, I'.cording to 
the religious ritual, was accounted clean. The firil is riatural, 
the fecond ceremonial, cleannefs. Some traces of the lirft of thefe 
meanmgs we have in the Old Teftament, but nothing is more 
common there than the fecond, particularly in the Pentateuch. 
Again, as things are made clean to prepare them for being ufed, 
(and the more important the ufe, the more careft'lly they are 
cleaned), the term has been adopted to denote, thirdly, prepared, 
fitted, de (lined for a particular purpofe, of what kind foever the 
purpofe be ; fourthly, and more efpecially ccnfecrated, or devo- 
ted to a religious ufe ; fiftlily, as things, fo preparer! and devoted, 
are treated with peculiar care and attention, to halloWy or JanBi- 
fy, comes to fignify to honour, to reverence, to Hand in awe of, 
and holy to imply worthy of this treatment, that ii, honourable. 

Vol. I. Re * "-jenerahle 


venerable, awful ; fixthly, and laftly, as outward and corporeal 
cleannefs has, in all ages and languages, been conlidered as an apt 
metaphor for moral purity, it denotes guiltlefs, irreproachable, 
which is at prefent, among Chriftians,the moft common accepta- 
tion of the word. 

§ lo. I fhall give an example or two of each of the fix ufes 
aforefaid, not confining myfelf to the adjeftive kadoJJj^ but in- 
cluding its conjugates of the fame root. Firfl, that it denotes 
clean in the vulgar acceptation, is manifefi: from the precept gi- 
ven to Ifrael in the defert, to be careful to keep the camp free 
from all ordure *. The reafon affigned is in thefe words : For 
the Lord thy God walketh in the midjl of thy camp, therefore 
fkall thy camp be holy, Ji^T"lp fl'm ««« 8fa< a-yia,, that he fee no 
unclean thing in thee, and turn away from thee. 

Another remarkable example of this meaning we have in tljc 
hlftory of king Hezekiah, who is faid to have given orders to 
the Levites, 2 Chron. xxix, 5. &.c. to fandify the houfe of the 
Lord ; the import of which order is explained by the words im- 
mediately following, and carry forth the filthinefs out of the holy 
place. The facred fervice had, in the reign of the impious Ahaz, 
been for a long time totally neglefted ; the lamps were gone out, 
and the fire extinguiflied on the altars, both of burnt- offerings 
and of incenfe ; nay, and the temple itfelf had at length been 
abfolutely deferted and Ihut up. The king, intending to reflore 
the religious worlhip of Jehovah to its former fplendour, faw 
that the firfl: thing neceflary was to make clean the houfe, with 
all its furniture, that they might be fit for the fervice. Frequent 
mention is made of this cleanfing in the chapter above referred 
to, where it is fometimes called cleanfing,, ver. 15, 16. 18. fome- 
ixmes fanBifying, ver. 3. 17. 19. the Hebrev^ verbs, "ItltD tahar,, 
and ti>~lp kadajh, being manifcfily, through the whole chapter, 
ufed indifcriminately. Both words are, accordingly, in this paf- 
fage, rendered by the Seventy indifferently ccyvi^nv and Kx^x^t^tDi, 
not uyiei^iiv ; in the Vulgate, mandare, expiare, and owce. fan Bif- 
£are. In both the above examples, the word holy is evidently 
the oppofite of dirty, natty, filthy, in the current acceptation of 
the terms. This, as being the fimpleft and moft obvious, is pro- 
bably the primitive fenfe. Things fenfible firft had names in 
every language. The names were afterwards extended to things 
conceivable and intelledtual. This is according to the natural 
progrefs of knowledge. 

§ II. From this firfl: fignification, the tranfition is eafy to that 
which, in the eye of the ceremonial law, is clean. One great 
purpofe of that law, though neither the only nor the chief pur- 
pofe, is to draw refpeft to the religious fervice, by guarding 
againft every thing that might favour of indecency or uncleanli- 

nef s . 
* Sec the whole pafifage, Deut, x.xiii- i%, 13, 14. 


hefs. The climate, as well as the nature of their fervice, render- 
ed this more neceffary than we are apt to imagine. Any thing 
which could ferve as a fecurity againil infeftious diforders in 
their public aflemblies, whereof, as they lived in a hot climate, 
they were in much greater danger than we are, was a matter of 
the higheft importance. Now, when once a fence is eftabliihed 
by ftatute, it is neceffary, in order to fupport its authority, that 
the letter of the ftatute Ihould be the rule in all cafes. Hence it 
will happen, that there may be a defilment in the eye of the law, 
where there is no natural foulnefs at all. This I call ceremonial 
uncle annefs, to exprefs the reverfe of which, the term holy is fre- 
quently employed. Thus, by av^oiding to eat what was account- 
ed unclean food, they fandlified themfelves. Lev. xi. 42. &c. xx. 
25, 26. ; they were likewife kept holy by avoiding the touch of 
dead bodies, to avoid which was particularly required of the 
priefls, except in certain cafes, they being obliged, by their mi- 
niftry, to be holier than others. Lev. xxi. i, — 6. Mofes is faid, 
Exod. xix. 10. 14. 22. to fanftify the people, by making them 
walh their clothes, and go through the legal ceremonies of puri- 
fication. Nor is it poflible to doubt that, when men were order- 
ed to fandlify themfelves directly for a particular occafion, they 
were enjoined the immediate performance of fomcthing which 
could be vifibly and quickly executed, and not the acquifition of 
a charafter, which is certainly not the work of an hour or of a 
day. Thus the priefts were to fanftify themfelves, before they 
approached the Lord on Sinai ; and thus the people were com- 
manded by Joftiua to fandify themfelves in the evening, that they 
might be prepared for feeing the wonders which God was to per- 
form among them next day, Joih. iii. 5. In the fame fenfe alfo 
Jofhua is faid to fanclify the people, Jofli. vii. 13. In this fenfe 
we are alfo to underftand what we are told of thofe who fan£li. 
fied themfelves for the obfervance of that great paffover which 
Hezekiah caufed to be celebrated. What is termed fanBifying 
in one verfe, is cleanjlng in another, 2 Chron. xxx. 17,18. To 
prevent being tedious, I do not repeat the whole paffages, but 
refer to them in the margin j the reader may confult them at his 

Even in the New Teftament, where the word is not fo fre- 
quently ufed in the ceremonial fenfe, holy and unclean^ kyit^ and 
axae^at^roj, are contrafted as natural oppofites, i Cor. vii. 14. la 
one place in the Old Teftament, Numb. v. 17. the Seventy have 
rendered the word kadojh kh^x^o;, as entirely equivalent, calling 
that pure or dean water, which, in Hebrew, is hoiy water ^ and 
oftener than once in the Targums or Chaldee paraphrafes, the 
Hebrew kaiojh is rendered, by their common term, for clean. 
Thu5, in that paffage of the prophet, Ifa. Ixv. 5. *' Stand by thy- 

** fclf ; 


" felf ; come not near me, for I am holur than thou," the lafl 
claufe is in Chaldce, *•' I am cleaner than thou." 

§ 12. In regard to the third fenfe, feparated or prepared for a 
fpecial purpofe, there are fevtral examples. The appointmg of 
places for cities o^ refuge, is, both in the original and in the 
Septuagint, Jolh. xx. 7. called fanftifying them. To make rea- 
dy for war, is, in feveral places, to fanBify war, Jer. vi. 4. Mic. 
iii. 5. In fuch places, however, the Seventy have not imitated 
the Hebrew penmen, probably thinking it too great a flretch for 
the Greek language to employ uyia^u in this manner. In one 
place, men are faid to be fatiBiJied for deftruftion, Jer. xii. 3. 
that is, devoted or prepared for it. To devote to a bad, even to 
an idolatrous ufe, is called to fandify. Thus, both in Hebrew 
and in Greek, Micah's mother is faid, Judges xvii. 3. to JanEii- 
fy the filver which ihe had devoted for making an idol, for her 
and her family to worlhip. From this application, probably, has 
fprung fuch anomalous productions as Hii'lp k^deJJmh^ a projii- 
tute, and C^l^^p kedejbiw^ Sodomites Nor is this fo ftrange as 
it may at firll appear. Similar exam.ples may be found in mod 
tongues. The Latin facer, which commonly fignifies facred^ 
boly^ venerable, fometimes denotes the contrary, and is equi- 
valent to fcelejius. Auri facra fames^ the execrable third of 

^ 13. The fourth meaning mentioned, was devoted to a religi- 
ous or pious ufe. Thus Jeremiah \s2i.% JanBified, Jer. i. 5. from 
the womb, in being ordained a prophet uuto the nations ; the 
prieds and the Leviies were fanftified or confecrated for their re- 
fpeifbive facied offices. It were lofing time to produce examples 
of an ufe, fo frequently to be met with in Scripture, and almofl 
in every page of the Books of Mofes. In this fcnfe (for it ad- 
mits degrees) the Jewilli nation was called holy, they being con- 
fecrated to God by circumcifion, the feal of his covenant ; in this 
fenfe alfo, all who profefs Chriftianity are denominated faints^ 
having been dedicated to God in their baptifm. 

§ 14. Of the fifth meaning, according to which, to hallow or 
fanBify denotes to refpedt, to honour, to venerate ; and holy de- 
notes refpedlable, honourable, venerable ; we have many exam- 
ples. Thus, to hulloiv God, is oppofed to profaning his name, 
Lev. xxii. 32. that is, to treating him with irreverence and dif- 
refpeft. It is oppofed alfo to the difplay of a want of confidence 
in his power and in his promife, Num. xx. 12. It is in this 
meaning the word is ufed, when we are required to fanftify the 
Sabbath, that is, to treat it with refpeft ; and are commanded to 
pray that God's name may be hallowed, that is, honoured, reve- 
red. It is in this meaning chiefly tl;at the word feems, in a lower 
degree applied to angels, and, in the liigbeft, to the Lord of hea- 
ven and earth. 



There are fome things which incline me to conclude, that this 
is more properly the import of the word, at leaft in the spplipa- 
tion to God, than, as is commonly fuppofed, moral excellence ia 
general. Doubtlefs, both the moral, and what are called the natu- 
ral, attributes of God, may be conlidered as, in lome refpeft, inclu- 
ded, being the foundations of that profound reverence with which 
lie otio"ht ever to be mentioned, and more efpecially addreffed, by 
mortals. But it is worthy of our notice, that when the term 
holy is applied to God, and accompanied with other attributives, 
they are fuch as infufe fear rather than love, and fuggeft ideas of 
vengeance rather than of grace. When Jofhua found it neceiTa- 
ry to alarm the fears of an inconliderate nation, he told them, 
Ye cannot ferve the Lordy for he is a holy God, he is a jealous 
God; he will not forgi'ue your tranjgrejjions and fins ^ Jofh. xxiv. 
19. Again, this epithet holy is more frequently than any other 
applied to God's name. ISlow, if we coniider what other epi- 
thets are thus applied in Scripture, we fhall find that they are net 
thofe which exprefs any natural or moral qualities abflraftlj con- 
fidered ; they are not the names of tflential attributes, but fuch 
only as fugged the fentiraents of awe and reverence with which 
he ought to be regarded by every reafonable creature. No men- 
tion is made of God's wife name, powerful name, or true name, 
good name, or merciful name, faithful name, or righteous name; 
yet all thefe qualities, wifdom, power, truth, goodnefs, mercy, 
faithfulnefs and righiecufnefs, are,Jn numberlefs inftances, afcri- 
bed to God, as the ettrnal and immutable perfedions of his na- 
ture : but there is mention of his fearful name, his glorious 
name, his great name, his reverend name, and his excellent name, 
fometimes even of his dreadful name, but ofteneft of his holjr ^ 
name ; for all thefe terms are comparative, and bear an imme- 
diate reference to the fentiments of the humble W'orlhipper. 
Nay, as the epithet holy is often found in conjuiiftion with fome 
of the others above mentioned, which admit this application, 
they ferve to explain it. Thus the Pfalmift, xcix. 3. Let them 
praife thy great and terrible name ; for it is holy. Again, 
cxi. 9. Holy and reverend is his name. 

What was the difplay which Jehovah made to the Philiftines, 
when his ark was in their poflefiion, a difplay which extorted 
from them the acknowledgment that the God of Ifrael is a holy 
God, before whom they could not Hand ? It was folely of fove- 
reignty and uncontroulable power in the deflru6lion of their idol 
god Dagon, and great numbers of the people. This filled them 
with fuch terror at the bare fight of the ark, the fymbol of God's 
prefence, as was too much for them to bear. And indeed both 
the Greek tiy**?, and the Latin fan^us^ admit the fame meaning, 
and are often equivalent to augustuf, venerandut. The former 
term augustus^ Caftalio has frequently, and not improperly, 



adopted in hii verfion, when the Hebrew word kadojh is applied 
to God. The change of the epithet Jancius is not neceffary ; 
but if perfpicuity might be thought in a particular cafe to re- 
quire it, I fliould prefer the latter term venerandus, as more ex- 
preflive of religious awe. Further, when the term holy is afcri- 
bed by angels to God, we find it accompanied with fuch words 
or geftures as are expreiSve of the profoundeft awe and venera- 

The defcription, a^ion, and exclamation of the feraphim in 
Ifaiah, ch. vi. i. &.c. lead our thoughts more to the ideas of raa- 
jefty and tranfcendent glory, than to thofc of a moral nature. / 
faw the Lord fitting upon a throne, high and iofty, and his train 
filled the temple : above it Jlood the feraphim : each one had fix. 
wings : with twain he covered his face, and with twain he covered 
his feet, and with twain he did fly. And one cried to another, and 
faid, Holy, holy., holy is "Jehovah the God of bofls., the whole 
earth is full of his glory. And the pillars of the porch were 
fhaken by the voice of him that cried ; and the houfe was filled 
with f moke. Every thing in this defcription is awful and majef- 
tic. That he is the Lord of hofts who dvvelleth on high, in 
whofe auguft prefence even the feraphim mull veil their faces, 
and that the whole earth is full of his glory, are introduced as 
the ground of afcribing to him thrice, in the moll folemn man- 
ner, the epithet holy. 

There is a paffage pretty fimilar to this in the Apocalypfe, 
Rev. iv. 8. &.C. The four beafis (or, as the word ought to be 
rendered, living creatures^ had each of them fix wings about him., 
and they were full of eyes ivithin ; and they refi not day and 
night., faying., Holy holy holy. Lord God Almighty., who was, 
and is, and is to come. And when tbofe creatures give glory., 
and honour, and thanks, to him that fitteth on the throne, who h- 
veth for ever and ever ; the four and twenty elders fall down 
before him that fitteth on the throne, and worfhip him that livetb 
for ever and ever, and cafl their crowns before the throne, faying^ 
Thou art worthy, Lord, to receive glory, and honour, and 
power i for thou haft created all things, and for thy pleafure 
they are, and they were created. Here every circumftance points 
to the majefty, power, and dominion, not to the moral perfec- 
tions of God ; the adtion and doxology of the elders make the 
beft comment on the exclamation of the four living creatures, 
Holy, holy, holy. Lord God Almighty, &.c. 

It is univerfally admitted, that to hallow or fanftify the name 
of God, is to venerate, to honour it. According to analogy, 
therefore, to affirm that the name of Gcd is holy, is to affirm 
that it is honourable, that it is venerable. Nay, in the fame 
fenfe, we are faid to fanctify God himfelf ; that is, to make him 
the object of oar veneration and awe. In this way, to fanctify 



God, is nearly the fame as to fear him, differing chiefly in de- 
gree, and may be oppofed to an undue fear of man. Thus it is 
employed by the prophet, Ifa. viii. 12, 13. Sny not, A confedera- 
cy to all them to whom this people Jhall fay ^ a confederacy^ neither 
fear ye their fear, nor be afraid. Sanctify the Lord of hofts 
himfelf^ and let him be your fear, and let him be your dread. 
But nothing can give a more appofite example of this ufe than 
the words of Mofes to Aaron, Lev. x. i.&c. on occafion of the 
terrible fate of Aaron's two fons, Nadab ar.d Abihu. This is 
that the Lord fpake^ I will be fanBified in them that come nigh 
me ; and before all the people L will be glorified. Their tranf- 
greffion was, that they offered before the Lord ftrange fire, or 
what was not the peculiar fire of the altar, lighted originally 
from heaven,but ordinary fire kindled from their owh hearths, an 
a6lion which, in the eye of that difpenfation, mull be deemed 
the groileft indignity. Spencer '''^ has v»'ell exprefled the fenfe of 
the paiTage in thefe words : " Deum fanftum efle, id eft, a qua- 
" vis perfona vel eminentia, incomparabili naturse fuas excellentia, 
*' feparatum, ideoque poftulare, ut fanftificetur, id eft, augufte, 
" decore, et ritu naturae fuse feparatae, irnaginem quandara fe- 
" rente, colatur." 

§ I <;. The fixth and laft fenfe mentioned, was moral purity and 
innocence, a fenfe which, by a very natural turn of thinking, 
arifes out of the two firft meanings afligned, namely, clean ia 
the common import of the word, and clean in the eye of the ce- 
remonial law. This meaning might, in refpeft of its connexion 
with thefe, have been ranked in the third place. But, becaufe 
I confider this as originally a metaphorical ufe of the word, and 
requiring a greater degree of refinement than the other meanings, 
I have referved it for the laft. This acceptation is accordingly 
much more frequent: in the New Teftament than in the Old. In 
the latter, it oftener occurs in the prophetical and devotional wri- 
tings, than in the Pentateuch, and the other hiftorical books, 
where we never find holy mentioned in the defcription of a good 
charader. This, in my judgment, merits a more particular at- 
tention than feems to have been given it. In what is affirmed 
exprefsly in commendation of Noah, Abraham, or any of the 
patriarchs, of Mofes, Joftiua, Job, David, Hezekiah, or any of 
the good kings of Ifrael or Judah, or any of the prophets or an- 
cient worthies, except where there is an allufion to a facred of- 
fice, the term kado/h, holy, is not once employed. Now there 
is hardly another general term, as just^ good, perfeB., upright, 
whereof, in fuch cafes, v/e do not find examples. Yet there is 
no epithet which occurs oftener on other occafions than that 
whereof I am fpeaking. But, in the time of the Evangelifts, 
diis moral application of the correfponding word hagios^ was be- 

* Lib. I. cap vii. 


come more familiar ; though the other meanings were not obfo- 
lete, as they are almod all at prefeut. Herod is fald .to have 
known that John the Baptift was a juft man and a boly^ Mark 
vi. 20. There is nothing like this in the Old Teftament. When 
David pleads that he is holy, Pfal. Ixxxvi. 2. it is not the word 
kadojij that he ufes. The many injunclions to holinefs given in 
the law, as has been already hinted, have at leafl a much greater 
reference to ceremonial purity, than to moral. The only immo- 
rality againft which they fometimes feera immediately pointed, 
is idolatry^ it being always confidcred in the law as the greateft 
degree of defilement in both fenfes, ceremonial and moral. 

But as every vicious action is a tranfgreflion of the law, holi- 
nefs came gradually to be oppofed to vice of every kind. The 
conlideration of this, as a ftain on the character, as what fallies 
the mind, and renders it fimilarly difagreeable to a virtuous man, 
as dirt renders the body to a cleanly man, has been common in 
moft nations. Metaphors drawn hence are to be found perhaps 
in every language. As the ideas of a people become more fpi- 
ritual and reSned, and, which is a natural confequence, as cere- 
monies fink in their eflimation, and virtue rifes, the fecondary 
and metaphorical ufe of fuch terms grows more habitual, and of- 
ten in the end fupplants the primitive and the proper. This has 
happened to the term holinefs^ as now commonly underltood by 
Chriftians, or rather to the original terms fo rendered. It had, 
in a good meafure happened, but not entirely, m the language of 
the Jews, in the days of our Lord and his apoflks. The ex- 
hortations to holinefs in the New Teftamcnt, are evidentl}' to be 
underftood of moral purity, and of that only. On other occa- 
fions, the words holy, and faints, <iy<«(, even in the New Tefla- 
ment, ought to be explained in conformity to the fourth meaning 
above alTigned, devoted or confe crated to the fervice of God. 

§ 16. Having illuftrated thefe different fenfes, I fhall conlider 
an obje6tion that may be offered againft the interpretation 
here given of the word holy^ vvhen applied to God, as denoting 
awful^ venerable. Is not, it may be faid, the imitation of God, 
in holinefs, enjoined as a duty ? And does not this imply, 
the thing itfelf muft be the fame in nature, how different foever 
in degree, when afcribed to God, and when enjoined on us ? As 
I did not entirely exclude this fenfe, to wit, moral purity, from 
the term, when applied to the Deity, I readily admit that, in 
this injunction in the New Teftament, there may be a particular 
reference to it. But it is not neceffary that, in fuch fentences, 
there be fo perfeft a coincidence of fignification, as feems in the 
objeftion to be contended for. The words are, Be ye holy ^ for 
(not as) I am holy. In the paffage where this precept firft oc- 
curs, it is manifeft, from the context, that the fcope ©f the charge 
given to the people, is to avoid ceremonial impurities j thofe par- 


ticularlj that may be contrafted by eating unclean meats, and 
above all, by eating inft^^ls and reptiles, which are called an abo- 
mination. Now, certainly in this inferior acceptation, the term 
is '.itterly inapplicable to God. But what entirely removes the 
difficulty, is, that the people are laid, by a participation in fuch 
unclean food, to make themfelves abominable. To this the pre- 
cept SanBify yourfelues, and be ye holy^ Hands in dlredl oppoli- 
tion. There is here, therefore, a coincidence of the fecond and 
fifth meanings of the word holy^ which are connected, in their 
application to men, as the means and the end, and tliereforc 
ought both underllood as comprehended ; though the lat- 
ter alone is applicable to God. Now, as the oppofite of 
abominable is, cjiimalle^ venerable, the import of the precept, 
SanBify your/elves, manifellly is, ' Be careful, by a llrift atten- 

* tion to the ftatutes ye have received concerning purity, efpeci- 
' ally in what regards your food, to avoid the pollution of your 
' body ; maintain thus a proper refpeft for your perfons, that 

* your religious fervices may be efleemed by men, and accepted 

* of God ; for remember that the God whom ye ferve, as being 

* pure and perfect, is entitled to the higheft efteem and vener^l- 

* tion. Whatever, therefore, may be called Jlovenly^ or what 
' his law has pronounced impure in his fervants, is an indig- 
^ nity offered by them to their mailer, which he will certainly 

* refent.' 

But as an artful glofs or paraphrafe will fometimes miflead, I 
fliall fubjoin the plain words of Scripture, Lev. xi. 42. 8ic. which 
come in the conclufion of a long chapter, wherein the laws re- 
lating to cleannefs in animal food, in beafts, birds, fiilies, and 
reptiles, are laid down. V/hatfoever goeth upon the belly, and 
whatfoever goeth upon all four^ or vohatfoever hath more feet 
among all creeping things, that creep upon the earth ; them ys 
fhall not eat^ for they are an abomination. Ye fliall not make 
yourfelves abominable tvith any creeping thing that creepeth^ nei- 
ther fhall ye make yourfi'Ives unclean with them, that ye fjoulu be 
defied thereby. For J am the Lord your God ; ye fhall there- 
fore fnnBfy yourfelves^ and ye fjcdl be holy ; for I am holy : 
neither fhall ye defle yourfelves with any manner of creeping thing 
that crcepeth upon the earth. For I am the Lord that bringeth 
you up out of the land of Egypt ^ to be your God ; yefjjall there- 
fore be holy^ for L am holy. It is plain, that any other inter- 
pretation of the word holy tlian that now given, would render 
the whole paffage incohei-ent. 

§ 17. Now, to come to the word TuDH cbafd^ cs-ta^ this is 
a term which properly and originally expreffes a mental quality, 
and that only in the fame manner as DHV tfaddtk, "huatoi juft, 
^tD{^ amon^ vi^a? faithful, and feveral others. Nor is there any 
material variation cf meanin r th;tt the word feems to have under- 

VoL. I. F f gone 


gone at different periods. The woi\ common acceptation is gra- 
ciout, merciful, hentjicent, benign. When there appears to be a 
particular reference to the way wherein the perfon ftands affecled 
to God and religion, it means prous^ divout. In conformity to 
this fenfe, our tranflators have, in feveral places in the Old Tef- 
tament, rendered it godly. The phrafe o'< os-jo* ra ©« is, therefore, 
not improperly rendered the faints of God, that is, his pious fer- 
vants. It moft probably, as was hinted before, means pici/i in 
what was faid of our Lord, that he was oc-te;., ozkxs^, ct/^idyrcu as it 
feems to have been the intention of the facred writer to compre- 
hend, in few words, his whole moral charafter refpecling God, 
the reft of mankind, and himfelf. In the enumeration which 
Paul gives to Titus, ch. i. 8. of the virtues whereof a bifhop 
ought to be poflefled, it is furely improper to explain any of 
them by a general term equally adapted to them all ; fince no- 
thic can be plainer than that his intention is to denote, by every 
epithet, lome quality not expreffed before. His words are fiXc^i- 
Fci, (^I'Ka.yoi^oi, ccep^sya, atx-xier, C7tci, lyx^arr,. To render c<7ic7 holy 
(though that were in other places a proper verfion) would be 
here in efFeft tlie fame as to omit it altogether. If the fenfe had 
been pious., it had probably been either the firfl or the laft in the 
catalogue. As it ftands, I think, it ought to be rendered bene- 

There are certain words which, on fome occafions, are ufed 
with greater, and on others, with lefs, latitude. Thus the word 
2iKXio; fometimcs comprehends the whole of our duty to God, our 
neighbour, and ourtelves ; fometimes it includes only the virtue 
of juftice. When «'< oiKxm is oppofed to «'« 7rsn,fet, the former is 
t]ie cafe, and it is better to render it the righteous, and o.Kxte^vfn 
rightecufnefs ; but when S««<j; or ^ix.u.i6(rvvn occur in a lift with 
other virtues, it is better to render iii^mjust or justice. Some-- 
times the word is employed in a fenfe which has been called 
forenfic, as being derived from judicial proceedings. He that 
justifieth the xvtcked, fays Solomon, Prov. xvii. 15. and he that 
condemneth the just, even they both are abomination to the Lord. 
The word wicied, means here no more than guilty, and the word 
justj guiltlefs of the crime charged. In like manner ca-ierm, in 
one or two inftances, may be found in the New Teftament, in 
an extent of fignification greater than ufual. In fuch cafes it 
may be rendered ya«c7/<j, a word rather more expreflive of what 
concerns manners than holinejs is. 

§ 18. But, as a further evidence that the Hebrew word TCn 
chafid, is not fynonymous with ti^np kadojh, and confequently 
neither ix^^oi with «y<«?, it muft be obfer\ed, that the abftracl 
ion chefed, is not once rendered by the Seventy eV/ar/c, or, by 
our interpreters, hoUnefs, though the concrete is almoft always 
rendered i«-<« in Greek, and often hvly in Englifti. This fub- 



ftantive, on the contrary, is tranfiated in the Septuagint, a:»?, 
iXiYifcorvvvt, oiKTu^, eAtt;?, x,'^^'^, or fome fuch term ; once, :ndeed, 
and but once, ««■««. In Englifh it is tranllated kindnefs^ fcivonr^ 
grace^ mercy, loving-kitidnefs^ pity, but never hol'inejs. T iie 
analogy of language (unlefs ufe were clear againlt it, which is 
not the cafe here) would lead us to think, that there mull be a 
nearer relation in m-^aning than this, between the lubilantive and 
the adjeftive formed from it. Yet iiortoy does not more evi- 
dently fpring from ziorib^ than TCH chafid^ fprings from "I^H 
chejed. Of the term lait mentioned it may be proper jull to ob- 
ferve, that there is alto an anomalous ufe (like that remarked in 
kadojh) which affigns it a meaning, the reverfe of its uluai fignifi- 
cation, anfwering to xio^,:oe., ovuoo?, fiaqrtium, probrum. But U :s on- 
ly in two or three places that the word occurs in this acceptation. 
§ 19. I fliall conclude with obferving, that chafid cr hojlos are 
fometimes applied to God ; in which cafe there can be httie doubt 
of its implying merciful^ bountiful^ gracious, liberal, or benign. 
The only cafe vi'herein it has an affinity in meaning to the En- 
gUlh -words faint or holy, is when ifexprefies pious aftcdfions to- 
wards God. As thefe cannot be attributed to God himfelf, the 
term, when uled of hnn, ought to be underllood, according to its 
molt frequent acceptation. The Pfalmiif's words, which, in the 
common verfion, are, Pfal.clxv. 17. The Lord if righteous in all 
bis ways^ and holy^ chafid, in all his ivorks^ would have been mere 
truly, as well as intelligibly and emphatically rendered, The 
Lord is jujl in all his xvays, and bountiful in all his works. 
There is not equal reafon for tranflating in the fame manner the 
Greek hofios^ when applied to God in the New Teifament. 
Though hofos^ in the Septuagint, commonly occupies the plact; 
of chafid, it does not always. It is fometimes employed in tran- 
flating the Hebrew words CDD tham, perfeB^ and "VD^ jajl<er^ 
upright. Once it is ufed for this laft term when applied to God, 
Deut. xxxii. 4. Thefe words, therefore, oti /xovog oa-io?., Rev. xv. 4. 
in an addrefs to God, ought to be tranllated, ybr thou alone art 
perfeB rather than bouutiful ot gracious. The addition of ^ok; 
to the other epithet, is a fufficient ground for this preference. 
The context alfo favours it. But, in the more common accepta- 
tion of the term os-iog hofios, there is this difference between it 
and «y«oj hagios, as applied to God, that the latter appellation 
reprefents the Deity as awful, or rather terrible ; the former as 
amiable. The latter checks all advances on our part. We are 
ready to cry with the men of Bethlhemelh, 1 Sam. vi. 20. V/ho 
is able to ftand before this holy God? The former emboldens us 
to approach. Thus they are fo far from being fynonymous iu 
this application, that they may rather be contralted with each 
other. As to their import, when applied to men, the word ^yn;, 
in the bell fenfe, flill retains fo much of its origin, as to appear 



rather a negative charader, denoting a mind without llain ; uhere- 
as the term «V<a? is properly pofitive, and implies, in its utmoft 
extent, both piety and benevo!ence. 

§ 20. In regard to the manner of tranflating hadcjh in the Old 
Teftament, and hagios in the New ; when all circumftances are 
confidered, I think it fafefl to retain very generally the common 
verfion holy. The fame remark holds nearly alfo of the conju- 
gates. It is very true that the fenfe of the original in many 
places does not entirely fuit the meaning which we affix to that 
word. But it is certain, on the other hand, that we have no one 
word that anfwers fo well in all cafes. To change the term 
with each variation in meaning, would be attended u ith great 
inconveniency ; and, in many cafes, oblige the tranflator to ex- 
prefs himfelf either unintelligibly, and to appearance, inconfe- 
queatially, or too much in the manner of a paraphrifl. On the 
other hand, as the Englifh term holy is fomewhat indefinite in 
refpecl of meaning, and in a manner appropriated to religious 
fubjecls, nothing can ferve better to afcertain and illuftrate the 
fcriptural ufe than fuch uniformity ; and the feriptural ufe of a 
word hardly current in common difcourfe, cannot fail to fix the 
general acceptation. But this would not hold of any words in 
familiar ufe on ordinary fubjefts. With regard to fuch, any de- 
viation from the received meaning would, to common readers, 
prove the occafion of pe-, plexity at leall, if not of error. But cha- 
Jidm the Old Tellament, and hnjios in the New (^except when 
ufed fubftanlively, where it may be rendered y?//Ki), ought, when 
it refpefts the difpofuion towards God, to be tranfl^ted p:ou.t ; 
when it refpe£ls the difpofition towards men, gracious^ kind, hu- 


y^ViPyrnn, ivsty'/:>-i?^uv, Kciruyyi>.>.ir/, and otoxcxifs. 

'* J. HE only other fpecimen 1 fliall here give of words fuppoftd 
to be fynonymous, or nearly fo, ihall be y-v^vs-s-u*, tveiyyiM^^u; xetrciy- 
yi>.Aii7, and 2i^xa-x.uv, all nearly related, the former three being al- 
raofl always rendered in Englifh to preachy and the laft to teach. 
My intention is, not only to point out exa£lly the differences of 
meaning in thefe words, but to evince that the words whereby 
the two former are rendered in fome, perhaps moll modern lan- 
guages, do not entirely reach the meaning of the original terms •, 
and, in fome meafure, by confequence, miflead msfl readers. It 
happens in a traft of ages, through the gradual alterations which 
take place in refpedl of laws, manners, rites, and cuftoms, that 



words come, as >it v,'ere, along with thefe, by imperceptible de- 
grees, to vary confiderably from their primitive figuificatioii. 
Perhaps it is oftener t!ian we are aware, to be afcribed to this 
caufc:, that the terms employed by tranflators, are found io feebly 
to exprefs the meaning of the original. 

§ 2. The firfl of the words above mentioned, x.Y,^v7(niv, render- 
ed to preachy is derived from x-'a^'-j^, rendered preacher, whence 
alfo z))gy7|t4!«, rendered a preaching. The primitive -a^-j^ fi^'nifies 
properly both herald and common crier, and anfwers exaftly to 
the Latin word caduceator in the firil of thefe fenfes, and to 
prceco in the fecond. The verb >i»gvo-(r£<v is accordingly to cry\ 
publijh, or proclaim authoritatively, or by commiffion from ano- 
ther, and the noun K^^vyficc is the thing publi/hed or proclaimed. 
The word n/.^vl recurs only twice in the Septuagint, and once in 
the apocryphal book Ecclefiafticus, and evidently means in them 
all crier. The other fenfe of the word, namely, herald, or mef- 
fenger of important intelligence between princes and ftates, is 
nearly related, as the fame perfons had often the charge of car- 
rying fuch embaffies, and of proclaiming war or peace ; but it is 
not quite the fame. In the New Teftameut the word feems to 
partake of both fenfes, but more evidently of that of crier. And 
to this lenfe the derivatives Kugyc-s-fti and Ki^vyiix, more properly 
accord than to the other : for, to difcharge the cfhce of herald is, 
in Greek, x.i^vx.iviiv, and the office itfelf x-ig^vy-ivcm. But thefe words, 
though frequent in clallical writers, are not found in Scripture. 
The word r./)^v| occurs but thrice in the New Teftamcnt, oi:ce 
in each of the Epiftles to Timothy, i Tim.ii. 7. 2 Tim. i. 11. 
wherein Paul calls himfelf y.-^e,'^:, y.a,i aiTcfsAoj ; and once it is ufed 
by the Apoftle Peter, who, fpeaking of Noah, calls him y.A%-j\ 0;- 
y.y,it<T\jrf,^, 1 Pet. ii. 5. The word y./,^vyu» occurs but in three 
places in the Septuagint, and imports in them all proclamation, 
or thing proclaimed. In one of thofe places it relates to that 
made by the prophet Jonah, through the itreets of Nineveh, call- 
ed, as in the Gofpel, preaching, Jonah iii. 2. and in another, 
2 Chron. xxxvi. 22. is, in the common verfion, rendered procla- 
viation. In the New Teftament it occurs eight times, and is al- 
Vv'ays rendered preaching. In two of thofe places it relates ti> 
Jonah's proclamation in Nineveh. The verb «7;§t/y«-^ occurs in 
the New Teftament about five and twenty times, always in near- 
ly the fame fenfe : I proclaim, prcedico, palam annuncio. In at- 
leaft twelve of thefe cafes it relates folely to proclamations made 
by human authority, and denotes in them all to warn, or, bj"- 
crying out, to advertife people openly of any thing done or to be 
done, or danger to be avoided. This may be called the primi- 
tive fenfe of the word, and in this fenfe it will be found to be 
ofteneft employed in the New Teftament. 

$ 3. Now, if it be allsLcd, whether this fuits the import of the 



Englifli word, to preachy by which it is almofl: always rendered 
in the common veifion of this part of the canon, 1 aiifwtr, that, in 
my judgment, it does not entirely fuit it. To preachy is defined, 
by Johnfon, in his Diftionarj^, " to pronounce a public difccurie 
'• upon facred fubjedls." This exprcffes, with fufficient exatl- 
nefs, the idea we commonly afHx to the term. For, we may 
admit, that the attendant circumttances of church, pulpit, text, 
worlhip, are but appendages. But the definition, given by the 
Englifh lexicographer, cannot be called an interpretation of the 
term y-ney^^u^ as ufed in Scripture. For, fo far is it from being 
necelTary that the K^vyi^x fhould be a difcourfe, that it may be 
only a fingle fentence, and a very fhort fentence too. Nav, to 
fuch brief notifications we fhall find the term mod frequently 
applied. Befides, the word K>)gy(7(r», and Ki^vyf^x, were adopted, 
with equal propriety, whether the fubjeft were farred or civil. 
Again, though the verb y,-f,e^v7<^u alwaj^s implied public notice of 
fome event, either accomplifhed, or about to be accompliflied, 
often accompanied with a warning, to do or forbear fome thing j 
it never denoted either a comment on, or explanation of any 
doftrin?, critical obfervations on, or illuflrations of any fubjeft, 
or a chain of reafoning, in proof of a particular fenliment. And, 
if fo, to pronounce publicly fuch a difcourfe, as, with us, is de- 
nominated fermon, homily, ledlure, or preaching, would, by no 
means, come within the meaning of the word y.--^vr7w^ in its firft 
and mofl common acceptation. It is, therefore, not fo nearly 
fynonymous with ^iIuj-ku, to teach^ as is now commonly imagined. 
^ 4. But, that v.'e may be more fully fatisfied of this, it will 
be necelTary to examine more clofely the application of the word 
in the Gofpels, and in the A6ls. The firft time it occurs, is in 
the account that is given of our Lord's harbinger, Matth. iii. i, 2. 
In thoje days came John the Baptijl, KYi^vc-a-cav iv t» i^-/,f^u th; lov^utxi, 
y.xi X'.yaiy, making proclamation in the wildernefs of Jtidea, and 
faying. Now, what was it that he cried, or proclaimed in the 
wildernefs ? It immediately follows, MiTxvcim r^/yiy.i yu^ » (-.cia-iXucc 
70)1 a^xvuv Reform,, for the teign of heaven approacheth. This 
is, literally, his y-y.^vy^x, proclamation, or preaching, ftript of the 
allegorical language in which it is clothed by the prophet, Ifa. 
xl. 3. as quoted in the next verfe, to this efFeft : For this is he to 
whom Ifaiah alludcth in theje ivords^ The cry of a crier 7n the 
defert^ " Prepare a way for the Lord,, make his road ftraight?^ 
Hence we may learn, what the Evangelifts call fixTmc-^x f^iTuictx?, 
which John preached for the remiflion of fins. He proclaimed 
to all within hearing, that if they would obtain the pardon of 
former offences, they muft now enter on a new life ; for that the 
reign of the Meffiah was juft about to commence; and, as a 
pledge of their intended reformation, and an engagement to it, 



he called on all to come and be baptized by him, confeffing their 


Another public intimation, which John made to the people, 
and to which the word x/)§«c-(7« is alfo applied, v.'e have in Mark 
i. 7, 8. : He proclaimed, faying, " After me cometh one mightier 
" than /, whofe JJjoe latchet I am not worthy to ftoop down and 
" untie. I indeed baptize you in water, but he will baptize you 
'* in the Holy Spirit. ''^ Such fhort calls, warnings, notices, or 
advertifements, given with a loud voice to the multitude, from 
whomfosver, and on what lubje^l foever, come under the notion of 
scne^vy^xTii, as ufed in Scripture. To the particular moral inftruc- 
tions which John gave the people feverailj, according to their 
different nrofeffions, the word x-AevT^w is not applied, but ■jt-u.e^otKcit.Xiu,- 
to admonifh., to exhort^ Luke iii. 18. UoXXx ,ksv »» x«< m^« vug^xKci,- 
>.i>."i ivAyyihiZfcTa Tsv A«6i. Which is very improperly tranllated, 
And many other things in his exhortation preached he unto the 
people. n«AA« is manifeilly conftrued with Trctg^xKuXuv, not with 
tvr,yyi>.i!ji.7o, whofe only regimen is fav Xxov. The meaning is, 
therefore : Accompanied with many other exhortations, he puh~ 
lijhed the good news to the people. 

§ 5. Let us next confider in v/hat manner the term ;c/,|^rc-« is 
applied to our Saviour. The firrt timiC we find it ufed of him, 
Mat. iv. 17. the very fame proclamation or preaching is afciibed 
to him, which had been afcribfed to John the Baptift. Reform, for 
the teign of heaven approacheth. With giving this public notice 
he alfo began his miniftry. Again, we are told, Mat. iv. 23. that 
he went jover all Galilee, teaching in their fynagogues^ and xi^vs-c-m 
T« ivxyyz?^tM 7/1? /3cis-tMixi, proclaiming the good news of the reign. 
There can be no doubt that the fame proclarrnatiou is here meant, 
which is quoted above from the fame chapter. Nor is this the on- 
ly place wherein this expredion is ufed of our Lord, Mat. ix. 35. 
Mark i. 14. Again, it is applied to Jefus Chrift by the Prophet 
Ifaiah, ch. Ixi. i. Sec. as quoted in the Gofpel, Luke iv. 18, 19. as 
to which I fliall only obferve, at prefent (having made fome re- 
marks on the paflage in a former Difl'ercation), that the word 
x»)g«5-irw, which twice occurs in it, is ufed folely in relation to 
thofe things which were wont to be notified by proclamation. 
In the latl claufe, to proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord, 
there is a manifefl alluiion to the jubilee, which was always pro- 
claimed by found of trumpet,, and accompanied with a procla- 
mation of liberty to all the bondmen and bondw^omen among 
them. It was by prcclamatiou alfo,- that Cyrus gave freedom 
to the captives of Judah, to return to their native land. I need 
only add, that the w-ord xr^eva-^c-j is fometimes applied to our Lord 
indefinitely, where we are not told what he proclaimed or preach^ 
ed. In fuch cafes, the rules of interpretation invariably require, 
that the exprelTions which are indefinite and defective, be explain- 

23 s I- & £ L I M I K A R If 

by thofe which are deiinite and full ; and that, by cotiiequence, 
they be underftood to fignify, that he gave public warning of the 
Melliah's approaching reign. 

§ 6. Laftly, as to the application of the term to the apoftles. 
its firft appearance is in the inftru6lions which their Lord gave 
them, along with their ft; ft miffion to the cities and villages of 
Ifrael. As ye go^ fays he, Matt. x. 7. «i;gvc-<rsTc XiyeiTic, prGclainiy 
faying, nyyMi »i fixs-iMicc tivv ts^xvut, the reign of heaven opproacheth. 
Here we have the very words of their preaching, or proclama- 
tion, exprefsly given them. To the fame purpofe, another evan- 

gelift tells us, Luke ix. 2. \T7i^i:>.v> uvTin K/.eys-c-nv rrr,- /3«r<A£;«sv t8 ©£», 

wiiich is literally. He commijjioned them to proclaim the reign of 
God. The fame is d.iubtlefs to be underftood by Mark, who 
acquaints us, ch. vi. I 2. E|:>-3^«>t£j iy.r,^vs-ir<»i iva (Airuvo/iTU!7t ; wiiich is 
faying, in efFeft, that wherever they went they made the fame 
proclamation, which h?.d been made by their Mader, and his pre- 
curfor, before them : Reform, for the reign of heaven approach- 
cth. Now, it deferves our notice, that we no where find fuch an 
order as oi'^xTr.iri Xiycira, teach faying, where the exprefs words of 
their teaching are prefcribed. It was neccffary that this ibould 
differ in manner, according to the occaiion, and be fuited to the 
capacities and circumllances of the perfons to be taught, and 
therefore, that it fhould be left to the difcretion of the teacher. 
No variation neceffary, or even proper, in the other, which 
was no more than the public notihcation of a fa6l, with a warn- 
ing to prepare themfelves. 

In the charge which our Lord gave to his apoflles after his re- 
fun eftion, he fays, Markxvi. 15. Go throughout all the world^ 
>.r,^v\!t-i to '.vccyyi'.-Mi , proclaim the good news to the whole creation. 
And 35 the call to reformation was enforced by the promife of 
remiffion in the name of Chriil, thefe alfo are faid, Luke xxiv. 
4y. iir,^v^6vi*»i tii TToiVTu Tci ifm, to have been proclaimed to all nations. 
Indemnity for paft fins is the foundation of the call to reform, 
with which the proclamation of the reign of God was always ac- 
companied. It is proper to remark, that the form 7,yyiK.i yag, 
ufed firft by the Baptift, then by our Lord himfelf, and laltly, by 
his difciples in his lifetime, is never repeated af:er his refurrec- 
tion. And we have reafon to believe, from the material altera- 
tion in circumflances which then took place, that they have then 
{aid, not as formerlv, r,y/ix.t, but .j^&e yap y, fixc^iXux ru-j nexm;-;. The 
reign of heaven, that i-, cf the Mefliah, is come. 

^ 7. Further, I muft take notice, that though announcing pu- 
blicly the reign of the MelTiah, comci ahvays under the denomi- 
nation, yy^.»vff(ruv, HO morc\l inftruftious, or doflrinal esplaiiations, 
given cither by our Lord, or by his apoftles, are ever, either in 
the Gofpels or in the Acls, fo denominated. Thus, that moft^ 
inftruflive difcourfe»cf our Lord, the longeft that is recorded in 



the Gofpe], commonly named his fermon on the mount, is called 
teaching by the evangelift, both in introducing it, and after the 
conclufion, Matt. v. 2. vii. 28, 29. Opening his mouthy -^i'^ti^Kii 
ccuTv;, he taught them^ f^y^'^S ' ^^^> when 'Jcfus had ended thefe 
/(lyings^ the people were aftontjhcd, nn rn 'hihxy;,Yi uvth, at his doc- 
trine, his manner of teaching. It is added, y,f yssj t^hxar-u^ ccvrnf ; 
for he taught them as one ha'-jing authority, and not as the Scribes. 
He is faid to have been employed in reaching, (Matt. xiii. 54. 
Markvi. 2. Luke iv. 15. 22.) when the wifdom, which llione 
forth in his difcourfes, excited the aftoniOiment of all who heard 
him. In like manner, the inftrudtions he gave by parables, are 
called teaching the people, not preaching to them, Mark iv. i, 2. 
and thofe given in private to his apoflles, are in the fame way 
ftyled, (Mark viii. 31.) teaching, never preaching. And if teach- 
ing and preaching be found fometimes coupled together, the rea- 
fon appears to be, becaufe their teaching, in the beginning of this 
new difpenfation, mull have been frequently introduced by an- 
nouncing the Meffiah, which alone was preaching. The expla- 
nations, admonitions, arguments and motives, that followed, came 
under the denomination of teaching. Nor does any thing elfe 
fpoken by our Lord and his difciples, in his lifetime, appear to 
have been called preaching, but this fingle fentence, tAirxvoim ny- 
yiKi 7^5 ij iix<7iXii* rail y^xvuv. In the Afts of the apoftles, the dif- 
ference of meaning in the two words is carefully obferved. The 
former is always a general and open declaration of the Meffiah 's 
reign, called emphatically the good news, or gofpel ; or, which 
amounts to the fame, the announcing of the great foundation of 
our hope, the Mefliah's refurreftion ; the latter comprehends 
every kind of inftruction, public or private, that is neceflary for 
illuftrating the nature and laws of this kingdom, for confuting 
gainfayers, perfuading the hearers, for confirming and com.forting 
believers. The proper fabjeft of each is fitly expreffed in the 
conclufion of this book, Afts xxviii. 31. where, fpeaking of 
Paul, then confined at Rome in a hired houfe, the author tells us 
that he received all who came to him, >cr.^-j^e-ity rr,* /Sxs-iXuxv ra Qm, 
X.UI ^i^xa-x6!v T» TTi^i rx Kv^ix i-Ad-a Xgj?^. Announcing to them the 
reign of God, and inftruding them in every thing that related to 
the Lord Jefus Chrift. 

§ 8. Let it alfo be obferved that, in all the quotations in the 
Gofpi.'ls from the ancient prophets, neither the word xr.ovrc-u, nor 
any of its conjugates, is applied to any of them befide Jonah, 
What is quoted from the reit, is- faid to have been fpoken, or 
foretold, or prophefied, but never preached. Jonah's prophecy 
to the Ninevites, on the contrary, is but twice quoted; and it is 
in both places called ii.ri>'jyu.x, rendered preachings properly cry or 
proclamation. The fame name it has, in the book itf^lf, in the 
St;ptuagint, and witli great propriety, according to the explana- 

Vo).. I. G g tion 


tion above given of the word, for if was a real proclamation 
which God required him to make through the ftreets of Nine- 
veh. Thus he is charged, Jonah iii. 2, Go to Nineveh, that 
great city, and preach to it the preaching that I bid thee. Tbe 
very words are prefcribed. It may be obferved here, by the 
way, that both in the Hebrew and in the Greek, it is the fame 
word which is here rendered preach, and in verfe fifth, proclaim^ 
when ufed in reference to a faft appointed by the king of Nin*- 
veh, for averting the divine anger, and notified to the people by 
proclamation. In obedience to the command of God, Jonah be- 
gan to enter into the city, a day's journey, and to cry as he had 
been bidden. Now, what was the preaching which God put into 
his mouth ? It was neither more nor lefs than this, 7'et fsrty 
days, and Nineveh JJjall be overthroirn. This warning the pro- 
phet, at proper diftances, repeated as lie advanced. 

In one paffage of the Apocalj-pfe, Rev. v. 2. the word occurs 
fo manifeftly in the fame fenfe, that it is one of the two places 
(for there are no more) in the New Teftament, wherein our 
tranflators have rendered it proclaim. I Jaw ajlrong an gel pro- 
claiming with a loud voice, Who is worthy to open the book, and 
to looje the feals thereof? That is, whofoever is worthy to open 
the book and to loofe its feais, may come and do it. This is the 
whole of the angel's y.r,^-jyfMi, preaching or proclamation. la the 
A6ls and Epiftles, we find the verb y-r.^^-js-Tu followed by tcv X^i^o-j, 
Toy Us-av, or fomething equivalent. This is entirely proper. To 
proclaim the advent of the MefTiah, and that Jefus is the perfon, 
was the firft flep of their important charge, and necefTarily pre- 
ceded their teaching and explaining his doctrine, or inculcating 
his precepts. 

§ g. So much for the primitive and mofi common meaning of 
the word xr,^ve-c-« in the New Teftament. But, as few words in 
any language remain perfedlly univocal, I own there are fome 
inflances in which the term rs employed in this part of Scripture 
with greater latitude. The firft and mofl natural extenfion of the 
word is when it is ufed by hyperbole for publifhing any how, 
divulging, making a thing to be univerfally talked of. The fiift 
inftance^f this is where we are told of the leper that was clean- 
fed by our Lord, and charged not to divulge the manner of his 
cure. But he went out, fays the hiflorian, Mark i. 45. and be- 
gan to publijh it much, xr.^vcririit ■x-eXXx. So our tranflators very 
properly render the word. In fome other places we find it in 
the fame fenfe, and in the fame way rendered, Matt. x. 27. Luke 
xii. 3. All the inftances are fimilar, in that they relate to mi- 
raculous cures performed by our Lord, which fome of thofe whc 
received, notwithftandlug the prohibition given them, were every 
where afCduous to divulge. Not that they did literally proclaim 
them, by crying aloud in the public places, but that they made 



the matter ns well known, as though this method had been ta- 
ken. Such hyperbolical idioms are to be found in all languages. 
How common is it to fay of profligates, that they proclaim their 
infamy to all the world, becaufe their lives make it as notorious 
as it could be made by proclamation ? It is in the fame fenfe of 
publifhiitg, and by the fame figure, that proclai\ning from the 
houfe-tops (ibid.) is oppofed to whifpering in the ear. Nor is 
it certain, that the words^'j(r(!-a> and k^^v/i/.x have an}' other 
meaning than thofe above fpecified in the Gofpels and Acts. 

§ 10. The only remaining fenfe of the- words which 1 find in 
the New Teftamenr, and which anfwers to the impoit of the 
Engliih words preach and preaching, feems to be peculiar to the 
writings of Paul. Thou, fays he, Rom. ii. 21. -who teachejl 
another, teachejl thou not thyfelff Thou that preachcjl, x.Vi^'j(r<jon, 
a man JJjould not fleul,dcji thou Jleal ? The two clauies illuilrate 
each other, and (hew that y.r,^\j7(r!a in the latter, has nearly the fame 
import with %ihv.iTy.u in the former. For though we may fpeak 
properly of proclaiming laws, and thou /halt not Jieal is /doubt- 
lefs of the number, it is only of laws nevv'ly enabled, or at leall: 
not before promulgated, that we ufe that exprefuon. The law 
here fpoken of was lufficiently known and acknowledged every 
where j but though there was no occaiion for proclaiming it, it 
might be very necelTary to inculcate and explain it. Now this 
is properly exprefled by the word preach. There are fome other 
places in his Epiftles, wherein it cannot be doubted, that the 
word is ufed in this large acceptation for teaching publicly. Thus 
we ought to underitand his admonition to Timothy, 2 Tim.iv. 
2. KVi^v%c,v Tov Aoyav, preach the word. Kti^vy/^x is alfo ufed by him 
with the fame latitude for all public teachinp-, as when he fays, 
I Gor. i. 2C. It pleafed God, by the foolijhnefs of preaching, 
^tet Tflj fAu^ix? T» x^vy/iiurA?, to fave them that believe. Again, 
1 Cor. ii. 4. My fpeech and my preaching, to KAe^vyy.x ^sj, ivas not 
with enticing words of mans wifdom, but in the demo7i ft ration of 
the fpirit and of power ; there can be no queftion but the term 
is ufed for teaching in general, fince xti^vyfcx, in the confined fenfe 
it bears in the Gofpels, could hardly admit variety or choice in 
the expreffion, nor confequently aught of the enticing words of 
man's wifdom. There is, befides, one place where the apoftle 
Peter ufes the word x-i^v^-treiv, 1 Pet. iii. 19. in fpeaking of our 
Lord's preaching to the fpirits in prifon ; but the paffage is fo 
obfcure, that no argument can fafely be founded on it. 

§11. Nothing, however, can be clearer to the attentive and 
critical reader of the original, than that the aforefaid words are 
not ufed with the fame latitude in the hiftorical books. In the 
Adls, in particular, fevetal difcourfes are recorded, thofe efpecial- 
ly of Peter and Paul, but to none of them are the terms xr,^va-a-ai 
and yy^vyy,x, ever applied. I think it the more nccelTary to make 



this remark, becaufe the Englifh word preach is in the comrr/on 
verfion frequently applied to thenn. Now this tends to confound 
the diftindion fo well preferred in the hiftory, and to render ail 
our ideas on this head extremely indeterminate. Some will per- 
haps be furprifed to be informed, that there are in the Acts alone 
no fewer than fix Greek words, not fynonymous neithtr, v/hich 
are, feme of them oftener, fome of them feldomer, tranflated by 
the verb preach. The words are x.Aiv<rTca^ i-jctyyi>.t^6fi»i, xccTxyy-xxu, 
XecMa, }ixMy»uiii, and 7rx^py^i!-icil:^6fM.t, which laft is rendered to preach 
bold'y. I admit that it is impoffible, in tranflating out of one 
language into another, to find a diftinclion of words in one exadl- 
ly correfpondent to what obtains in the other, and fo to preferve 
uniformity in rendering every different word by a different word, 
and the fame word by the fame word. This is what neither 
propriety nor perfpicuity will admit. The rule howeyer to 
tranflate uniformly, when it can be done, in a confiftency both 
with propriety and perfpicuity, is a • good rule, and one of the 
fimpleft and fureft methods I know, of making us enter into the 
conceptions of the facred writers, and adopt their very turn of 

§ 12. I fhall here take notice only of two pafiages in the com- 
mon tranflation, which, to a reader unacquainted with the origi- 
nal, n>ay appear to contradift my remark in regard to the dif- 
tindlion fo carefully obferved by the hiftoiian. IVbcn the "Jewi^ 
fays he, Afts xiii. 42. were gone out of the fynagogue^ the Gen- 
tiles he/ought that thefe words might be preached to them^ XxXuBr,- 
vxi xvTtii rx g/;,t4«r« txvtx, the next Sabbath ; literally and fimply, 
that thefe words might he fpoken to them. The words here meant, 
are thofe contained in the twenty- fix preceding verfes. Our 
tranflators, I fuppofe, have been the more irclinable to call it 
preaching, becaufe fpoken in a fynagogue by perrnifllon of the 
rulers. In another place, A6ls xx. 7. when the difciples came 
together to break bread., Paul preached unto them, ^nXef/nc auTag. 
Soon after, ver. 9. as Paul was long preaching, oixXiycuiya tT^i 
Ts-Miof, AixXiy»f/^i is properly ^{^/"o, difputo. It occurs fi-equcnt- 
ly in the Ads, but, except in tliis paflage, is always rendered to 
reafon, or to difpute. I own that neither of thtfe words fuits the 
context here, as it appears that all prefent were difciples. The 
word however implies not only to difpute, but to difcourfe en 
any fubjeft. But what I take the freedom to cenfure in our 
tranflators, is not their rendering ^^xMymx^ in th;s place preach., 
•which, confidered by itfelf, miglit be jufiined ; but it is their 
confounding it with fo many words not fynonymous, particularly 
with y.r,^v7(fu, whofe meaning in this book, as well as in the Gol- 
pels, is totally different. 

§ 13. Now, in regard to the manrer wherein this word has 
been tranflated, with which I fliall finifli what relates peculiarly 



to It, we may obferve that pradicare^ ufed in the Vulgate, and 
in all the Latin verlions, coiTtfponds entirtly to the Greek word 
in its primitive meaning, and fignilies to give public notice by 
proclamation. In this fenfe it had been 11 Ted by the Latin ciaf- 
lics, long before the tranflation of the Bible into their tongue. 
But pfoedicare^ having been employed uniformly in rendering 
Kn^v<rcni\, not only in the hiitory, but in the Epiftles, has derived 
from the latter ufe a iignification different, and much more limit- 
ed than it has in profane authors. Now, this additional, or ac- 
quired fignincation, is that which has principally obtained amongfl 
ecclefiaftics ; and hence has arifea the fole meaning in modern 
languages afcribed. to the word, whereby they commonly render 
the Greek y.^va-rsD. The Latin word is manifeftly that from 
which the Itahan predicar-e^ the French prccher, and the Englilli 
to preach, are derived. Yet thefe three wcnis correipond to the 
Latin only in the laft mentioned and ecckfiaftical fenfe, not in the 
primitive and claflical, which is alio the fcriptural fenfe in the 
Gofpcls and A^s. Thus the learned Academicians della Cruf- 
ca, in their Vocabulary, interpret the Italian predicate^ not by 
ihe Latin pradicare, its etymon, but by concionari, concionerr. 
habere ; terms certainly much nearer than the other to the im- 
port of the word ufed in the other two languages mentionec'^ 
though by no means adapted to exprefs the fenfe of ;t/)|iii?i7£;> in 
the hiftorical books. This is another evidence of what was ob- 
ferved in a former Differtation *, that a miftake, occafioned by 
fuppodng the word in the original, exa6lly correfpondent to the 
term in the common verfion, by which it is ufually rendered, i-? 
often cor.firmed, inilead of being corrected bv recurring to tranf- into other modern tongues, inafmuch as from the fame, cr 
limilar caufes, the like deviation from the original import, has 
been produced in thefe languages, as in our own. 

\ 14. I fhould now examine critically the import of the word 
fu<«iyysA<^», often rendered in the fame way with y.-f:^-jT<7'ji. But 
what might have been offered on this fubjeft, I have in a great 
mealure anticipated, in the explanation I gave of the name ivu-y- 
7iAi«». It was impofiible to coniider the noun and the verb fep?.- 
rately, without either repeating the fame obfervatic^ns and critl- 
cifms on each, or, by dividing things fo clofely connefted, injui- 
ing the illuftration of both. I fhall therefore here, after refer- 
ring the reader to that DilTertation f , which is pretty full, point 
out, in the briefefl; manner, the chief diftinftions in meaning that 
may be remarked between this word and y.fis^js-(yid, already t>- 

The former always refers to a meffage or news in itfelf good 
and agreeable, the latter does not require this quality in the fub- 
jeft. What would come under the denomination of xpjr,«'/7!>.<<. 

• Diff. III. § G. I DiOr. V. Part II. 


had neivs^ may be the fubjeft of >c>igv-/^i«, prcclamation, as well as 
good news. We fay, with equal propriety, y.r.Bvfrity 7rc>.-fiov as 
r.:^us-!r£{y fr^ij/siv, to proclaim War, as to proclaim peace. Nay, Jo- 
nah's cry through the flreets of Nineveh, Tet forty days and Ni- 
neveh Jhall be overthrown, is denominated it.r,^v/ both in the 
Old Teftament and in the New. But this is no where, nor in- 
deed could be, ftyled Eu«yy£>.<«», glad tiding'. 

A fecond difference is, the word r.jj^vTs-^) implies that the noti- 
fication is made openly to many, whereas the word ivecyyiXi^^cLuii 
may not improperly be ufed, in whatever way the thing be no- 
tified, publicly or privately, aloud or in a whifper, to one or to 
many. Thus, in regard to the important and agreeable mefl'age 
delivered by Gabriel to Zacharias the father of John the Baptill, 
when the latter was alone in the fanftuary offering incenfe ; the 
archanc-el fays, Luke i. 19. lam Jent. ivayyiXi^as^xi <rot ra^jTa, to 
Jhow thee thefe glad tidings. And it is faid of Philip, when in 
the chariot with only the Ethiopian eunuch, Adsviii. 33. ivr,y/i- 
>.i<T»rt x-jTu Tov I>i5-»v. He preached to him y^y?^'. The term preach- 
ed, by which our tranflators have rendered the word, does not in 
this place reach the meaning of the Greek word, nor does it an- 
fwer to the ordinary acceptation of the Englifh. It does not 
reach the meaning of the Greek, as the quality of the fubject, its 
being good news, is not fuggelled. Nor is the Englifh word 
proper here ; for this teaching was neither public, nor have we 
reafon to believe it was a continued difcourle. It is much more 
probable, that it was in the familiar way of dialogue, in which 
he had begun, that Philip continued to inftrudl this ftranger in 
the doftrine of Chrift. 

Another diilmftion feems to arife from the original import of 
the words, though I will not fay that it is uniformly obferved. 
It is, that the word ivayyiXn^a relates to the firft information that 
is given to a perfon or people, that is, when the lubjeft may be 
properly called news. Thus, in the Afts, it is frequently ufed 
for expreffmg the firft publication of the Gofpel in a city or vil- 
lage, or amongft a particular people. In regard to the word 
xnev77-6, there is no impropriety in fpeaking of the fame thing as 
repeatedly proclaimed among the fame people. Thus the ap- 
proach of the reign of God was, in fa£l, proclaimed to the Jews 
in our Saviour's lifetime, firft by the Baptift, then by our Lord 
himfelf, afterwards by the Apoftles, and lafUy by the feventy 
difciples. I fhall only add, that the word tvocyy.Xt^tfMi is fome- 
times, though not often, ufed more indefinitely for teaching or 
preaching in general, Adsxiv. 15. Gal. i. 23. In one place. 
Rev. X. 7. it is rendered bj' our tranflators declared. But in the 
Gofpels it always preferves the primitive fignification. When, 
therefore, we find it there coupled with the verb ^t^xoToi, we are 
not to unilerftand the terms as fynonymous, but as intended to 



acquaint us that the teaching mentioned was accompanied, or 
perhaps introduced, with an intimation of the approaching reign 
of the Meffiah. 

The mofh obvious things are fometimes the moil apt to be 
overlooked by ingenious men. We fhould otherwife think it 
unaccountable that men, emment for their attainments in facred 
literature, ihould be fo far mified by the ordinary meaning of a 
phrafe in the tranflation, as entirely to forget the proper import 
of the original expreflion. 1 am led to this reflection by obferv- 
ing, in a late publication, the following remark * on Luke xx. 1 
*' Ai^us-KotiTXi «uTs< — XXI ivxyyiXi^c/^iya. Why this fpecification of 
*'' preaching the gof pel ? Did he not always preach the gofpel 
*' when he taught the people ? Hence I conclude, that kxi ivayyiJ^i- 
** ^ofAiva fliould be thrown out as a marginal reading, founded per- 
" haps on Mat. iv. 23. or ix. ^^J''' Doubtlefs, according to the 
import of the EngliLh phrafe, he always preached the Gofpel 
when he taught, inafmuch as his teaching confided either in ex- 
plaining the doftrine, or enforcing the precepts of the Chriltian 
religion, which is all that we mean by preaching the gofpel. 
But his teaching was not always (as is manifeft from his whole 
hiftory) attended with the intimation above mentioned, which, 
in that hiftory, is the only thing implied in vjctyyiXi^cf^i^a, though 
it was fometimes attended with it. A clofe verfion of the words 
removes every diihculty. One day, as he was teachifig the people 
in the temple, and puhli/hing the good tidings. In my judgment, 
this lafl circumftance was the more worthy of being fpecified 
here by the Evangelifl, as it has probably been that which then 
incenfed the chief priefts, and prompted them to demand of him 
in fo peremptory a manner to fhow his warrant for what he 
did. To fay that the reign of the Meffiah was about to com- 
mence, would be accounted by them very prefumptuous, and 
might be conftrued into an infinuation, that he himfelf was the 
Meffiah, a pofition which we find them foon after pronouncing 
blafphemy : and in any cafe they would confider the declaration 
(which \vd.s well known not to originate from them) as an at- 
tempt to undermine their authority with the people. 

Hence I alfo will take the liberty to conclude, that the common 
way of rendering the Greek verb, by the aid of confecrated 
w'ords, not only into Engliffi, but into Latin, and mofi; modern 
languages, has produced an afTociation in the minds of men ftrong 
enough to miilead critical, as well as ordinary readers : elfe men 
of letters, like DrOwen and Mr Bowyer, had never fancied that 
there is here either a tautology, or fo much as a redundancy of 
words. I further conclude, that if we were to proceed in the 
way propofed by tlie former of thefe critics, and to expunge 
whatever in Scripture we diflike, or imagine miglst be fpared, 

* Bowyer's Conjeftures. 

240 P R E L I M I K A R Y 

it is impoflible to fay what would be left at laft of the divine 
oracles. The remarker, if he would a£t confiftentlj, ought alfo 
to throw out as a marginal reading xtpv^a-uf ra i-juyyiXut, which is 
coupled with ^lixc-xut in the two places of Matthew referred to. 
We may not be able to difcover the meaning or the ufe of a 
particular expreffion ; for who can difcover every thing ? but let 
us not be vain enough to think, that v.hat we do not difcover, no 
other perfon ever will*. 

§15. The only other word in the New Teftament that can be 
faid to be nearly fynonymous with either of the preceding, is 
xatTxyyeAAif annuncio^ I announce, publifh, or promulgate. It is 
an intermediate term between Kv;j.5-ff-&' and ivxy/iXit^r-uut. In regard 
to the manner, it irnpl'es more of public notice than is neceflarily 
implied in ivxyyO^^cuxi, but lefs than is denoted by xn^va-c-ai. In 
regard to the fubjeft, though comnaonly ufed in a good fenfe, it 
does not exprefs quite fo much as £v«yyi/<^e^s«/, but it expreiles 
more than xr.^va-e-u, which genei ally refers to fome one remark- 
able fadl or event, that may be told in a fentence or two. Ac- 
cordingly both thefe word?, x:«T«yy«>i>.» and 2vx'/'yiXi^oiutt come 
nearer to a coincidence in fignitication with hoxs-x-u than xK^vc-e-n 

§ 16. The word ivxyyO^a-r,?, rendered cvangehj}^ occurs only 
thrice in the New Teftament. Firft ia the Acls, xxi. 8. where 
Philip, one of the feven deacons, is called an Evangelift ; fecond- 
ly, in the Epiftle to the Ephelians, ch. iv. 11. where evangelists 
are mentioned after apoftles and prophets, as one of the offices 
which our Lord, after his afcenfion, had appointed for the con- 
verfion of infidels, and the eftablifhment of order in his church ; 
and, laftly, in the injunftion which Paul gives Timothy to do 
the work of an evangelift, 2 Tim. iv. y This word has alfo ob- 
tained another fignification, which, though not canonical, is very 
ancient. As fvi*yyf>.;e» denotes any of the four narra- 
tives of our Lord's life and fufferings, which make a part of the 
canon, fo evangelift means the ccmpofer. Hence Matthew, 
Mark, Luke, and John, are called Evangelifts. 

§ 17. As to the word piJas-xEor, it may fuffice to obferve, that 
it can hardly be wropg tranflated into Latin by the verb docere^ 
or into Enslifh by the verb to teach ; and that it was mentioned 
in the title, not on account of any difficulty occafioned by it, but 
folely for the fake of fuggefting my purpofe to (how that, far 
from being coincidenr, it has not even fo great an affinity ia fig- 
nification to the other words there mentioned, as is commonly 
fuppofed. But, as the fuppofcd coincidence or affinity always 
arifes from miftaking the exact import of the other words, and 
not from any error in regard to this, a particular explanation ot 
this term is not necefTurv. 


♦ DifT. XII. Part, II. § 13, 14 




X INTEND, in this Differtation, to offer a few remaiks on thofe 
titles of honour which moft frequently occur in the New Tefta- 
ment, that we may judge more accurately of their import, by 
attending, not only to their peculiarities in fignification, but alfo 
to the difference in the ancient Jewifh manner of applying them, 
from that which obtains among the modern Europeans, in the 
\ife of words thought to be equivalent. 


JN OTHING can be more evident, than that, originally, titles 
were every where the names, either of offices, or of relations, 
natural or conventional, infomuch that it could not be faid of any 
of them, as may be faid, with juftice, of fever al of our titles at 
prefent, thofe efpecially called titles of qualitj^, that they mark 
neither office nor relation, property nor jurifdidtion, but merely 
certain degrees of hereditary honour, and rights of precedency. 
Relation implies oppofite relation in the objeft. Now, when 
thofe perfons for whofe behoof a particular office was exercifed, 
and who were confequently in the oppofite relation, were very 
numerous, as a whole nation, province, or kingdom, the language 
commonly had no cori'elate to the title exprefliug the office ; that 
is, it had not a term appropriated to denote the people who ilood 
in the oppofite relation. But when there was only a fmall num- 
ber, there was a fpecial term for denoting the relative conneftion 
in which thefe alfo flood. Thus the terms, king, judge, prophet^ 
pontiffs hardly admitted any correlative term, but the general one 
oi people. But this does not hold invariably. With us the cor« 
I elate to king is fubje6l. In like manner, offices which are ex- 
VoL. I. H h erclfed, 


ercifed, not ftatedly, to certain individuals, but varioufly and oc- 
cafionally, fometiraes to one, fometimes to another, do not often 
require titles correlative. Of this kind are the names of mod 
handicrafts, and feveral other profcffions. Yet, with us, the 
phv/icJan has his patients, the lawyer his clients^ and the tradej- 
man his cujiomers. In moll other cafes of relation, whether 
arifing from nature or from convention, we find title tallying with 
title exadlly. T\iVL%^ father has /bw, hujhand has wife, uncle has 
nephew^ teacher has difciple or fcholar, mafter hzs fervant. 

§ 2. I admit, however, that in the moft limple times, and the 
moft ancient ufages with which we are acquainted, things did 
not remain fo entirely on the original footing, as that none fhould 
be czWedi father^ bi:t by his fon or his daughter ; none fhould be 
faluted mafter bat by his fervant^ or ftyled teacher but by his 
fcholar. There is a progreffion in every thing relating to lan- 
guage, 23, indeed, in ail human fciences and arts. Necelliity, firft, 
and ornament afterwards, lead to the extenfion of words beyond 
their primitive lignification. All languages are fcanty in the be- 
ginning, not having been fabricated beforehand, to fuit the occa- 
ficns which might arife. Now, when a perfon, in fpeaking, is 
fenfible of the want of a proper iign for expreffing his thought, 
he, much more naturally, recurs to a word which is the known 
name of fomething that lias an affinity to what he means, than to 
a found which, being entirely new to the hearers, cannot, by any 
law of aflbciation in our ideas, fuggeft his meaning to them. 
Whereas, by availing himfelf of the name of fomething related, by 
refemblance, or othervvife, to the fentiment he wants to convey, he 
touches fome principle in the minds of thofe whom he addrefles, 
which (if they be perfons of any fagacity) will quickly lead 
them to the difcovery of his meaning. Thus, for expreffing the 
reverence which I feel for a refpeflable character, in one who is 
alfo my fenior, I ffiall naturally be led to ftyle him father^ though 
I be not literally his yb« ; to exprefs ray fubmiffion to a man of 
greater merit and dignity, I ffiall call him mafter., though I be 
not his fervant ; and, to exprefs my refpeft for one of more ex- 
tenfive knowledge and erudition, I ffiall denominate him teacher, 
though I be not his dfciple. Indeed, thefc confequences arife fo 
direftly from thofe eflential principles of the imagination, uni- 
formly to be found in human nature, that deviations, in fome 
degree fimilar, from the earliefl; meanings of words, are to be 
found in all tongues, ancient and modern. This is the firft ftep 
from pure fimplicity. 

§ 3. Yet, that the diiferences in laws, fentimenls, and manners, 
which obtain in different nations, will occafion in this, as well as 
in other things, confiderable variety, is not to be denied. In 
Afia, a common fign of refpeft to fuperiors was proftration. In 
Europe, that ceremony was held in abhorrence. What I have 



remarked above, fults entirely the progrefs of civilization in the 
Afiatic regions. The high-fpirited republicans of Greece and 
Rome, appear, on the contrary, long to have confidered the title 
kyrios^ or dojuinus^ gi\-en to a man, as proper only in the mouth 
of a flave. Odlavius, the emperor, when mafter of the world, 
and abfolute in Rome, feems not to have thought it prudent to 
accept it. But, in delpotic countries long accudomed to kingly 
government, it was otherwife. 

§ 4. That fuch honorary applications of words were quite com- 
mon among the Jews, is evident to every body, who has read the 
Bible with attention. In fuch applications, however, it muft be 
noted, that the titles are not confidered as tl:ri£lly due from thofe 
who give them. They are confidered rather as voluntary ex- 
preflions of rcfpe£l, in him who gives the title, being a fort of 
tribute, either to polirenefs, or to the perfo!-;al merit of him on 
whom it is beftowed. But to affix titles to places and offices, 
to be given by all who (hall addrefs thofe poflefled cf fuch places 
and offices, whether they that give them Hand in the relation 
correfpondent to the title or not, or whether they poffefs the rc- 
fpedl or efleem implied or not, is comparatively a modern refine- 
ment in the civil intercourfe of mankind, at leail in the degree 
to which it is carried in Europe. This is the fecond remove 
from the earlieft and fimpleft ftate of fociety. 

\ 5. There remains a third, ftill more remarkable, to which 
I find nothing fimilar in ancient times. We have gotten a num- 
ber of honorary titles, fuch as, duhe^ marquis^ earl^ vifcount^ ba- 
ron, barofiet, &c. which it would be very difficult, or rather im- 
poffible, to define ; as they exprefs, at prefent, neither office, nor 
relation, but which, neverthelefs. defcend from father to fon, are 
regarded as part of a man's inlieritance, and, without any confi- 
deration of merit, or flation, or wealth, fecur'e to him certain ti- 
tular honours and ceremonial refpedl, and which are of a more 
unalienable nature than any other property (if they may be call- 
ed property), real or perfonal, that he poiTelTes. I am fenfible, 
that thofe modern titles w^ere all originally names of officer., as 
well as the ancient. Thus, duke was equivalent to commander; 
marquis, or margrave (for they diffi^red in different countries), 
to guardian of the marches ; count, landgrave, alderman, or earl, 
to ffieriff ; whence the ffiire is ftill denominated county ; vifcount^ 
to deputy- ffieriff. Vicecomes, accordingly, is the Latin word, in 
law- writs, for the officiating ffieriff*. When the principal, in 
any kind of office, becomes too rich, and too lazy, for the fervice, 
the burden naturally devolves upon the fubflitute ; and the power 
of the conftituent, through difufe, comes at laft to be antiquated. 
But, fo much was the title once connetled with the office, that 
when the king intended to create a new earl, he had no other 

* Blackfione's Commentary, Introduc, Se6\. 4. and B. I. cji. ii. § 3,4. 


expedient, than to ereft a certain territory into a county ^ earldom, 
or Jheriffdom (for thefe words were then fynonymous), and to 
beftow the jurifdiftion of it on the perfon honoured with the 
title. The baron, though his name was anciently common to 
all the nobility, was judge or lord of a fmaller and fubordinate 
jurifdiftion, called a barony *. In procefs of time, through the 
■vacifTitudes that neceffarily happen in the manners of the people, 
and in their methods of government, the offices came gradually 
to be fuperfeded, or at leaft to fubfift no longer, on the fame 
footing of hereditary pofleffion. But, when thefe had given 
place to other political arrangements, the titles, as a badge of 
anceftry and of the right to certain privileges which accompani- 
ed the name, were, as we may naturally fuppofe, ftill fuffered to 
remain. It hardly now anfwers the firfl end, as a badge of an« 
ceftry, in thofe countries where there are often new creations : 
but it anfwers the fecond, and befides, ennobles their pofterity. 
In confequence cf thefe differences, the titles are regarded as due 
to him who fucceeds to them, alike from all men, and that wuth- 
out any conlideration of either perfonal or official dignity, or even 
of territorial pofleffions. Thus, one who is entitled to be called 
my lord, is, in this manner, addrefled not only by his inferiors, 
but by his equals, nay, even his fuperiors. The king himfelf,- 
in addreffing his nobles, fays, my lords. 

§ 6. It was totally different among the Hebrews, I might have 
faid, among the ancients in general. The Greek word xygMj ky-^ 
rios, anfwering to the Hebrew *T^^? adon, to the Latin domirtusy 
and to the words lord or majler In Englifh, was not originally 
given, unlcfs by a fervant to his mailer, by a fubjeft to his fove- 
reign, or in brief, by one bound to obey, to the perfon entitled to 
command. Soon however it became common to give it to a fu- 
perior, though the perfon who gave it had no dependence upon 
him ; and if fometimes it was, through complaifance, beftowed on 
an equal, flill the man vvho gave the title was confidered as mo- 
deftly putting himfelf on the footing of an inferior and fervant, 
in as much as the title was invariably underflood to exprefs, nqj; 
only fuperior rank, but even authority, in the perfon on whom it 
was conferred. We have examples in Scripture which put it be- 
yond a doubt, that for any man to addrefs another by the title, 
my lord, and to acknowledge himfelf that perfon's fervant, were 
but different ways of espreffing the fame thing, «t/j(9; and ?«>.«« be- 
ing correlative terms. The courteous form of addreffing with 
them, when they meant to be refpeftful, (for it was not ufed on 
all occailons), was not that of moft modern Europeans, who, in 
ufing the fecond perfonal pronoun, employ the plural for the An- 
gular ; nor that of the Germans, who change both perfon and 
number, making the third plural fervc for the fecond fingular, 

* See Spclrnan's Gloffary on the different names. 


but it was what more rarely could occafion ambiguity than either 
of thefe ; the fubftitution of the third perfon for the firft, the 
number betng retained, whether fingular or plurail. This mode 
as occurring in Scripture, gives an additional illuftration of the 
import of the term Kv^tog with them. " Let thy fervant, I pray 
thee," faid Judah, Gen. xliv. 18. to his brother Jofeph, when 
governor of Egypt, "• fpeak a word in my lord's ears." 
** Nay, my lord," faid the Shunamite to the prophet Elilha, 
''• Ao TiOX. di^ctw^ thine handviaid^'' 2 Kings iv. 16. Some other 
inftances are marked in the margin *. 

Affiled by thefe remarks, we may perceive the force of that 
obfervation of the apoflle Peter, i Pet. iii. 5, 6. in regard to the 
conjugal refpecl and obedience yielded by Sarah to her hufband 
Abraham. Being i?t fiibjeBion^ fays he, fpeaking of the wives, 
to their own hujbandi, even as Sarah obeyed Abraham^ calling 
him lord ; that is, acknowledging, by this her ufual compeilation, 
her inferiority, and obligation to obedience ; for the intimacy of 
their relation hinders us from afcribing it to a cei'emonious civi- 
lity. Some have cavilled at this argument brought by the apo- 
ftle. The rank and quality of Abraham, fay they, who, by the 
accounts we have of him, was a pov\^erful prince, entitled him to 
be addrefled in this manner by every body. Others, in the op- 
pofite extreme, have inferred that every dutiful wife ought to 
give the fame teftimony of refpe£t and fubmiffion to her hulband„ 
which this pieus matron did to the patriarch. Both ways of rea- 
foning are weak, and proceed from the fame ignorance of the 
different import of words refulting from the difference of man- 
ners and cuiloms. The title lord with us, as applied to men, is 
either hereditary in certain families, or annexed by royal autho- 
rity, or immemorial ufage, to certain offices and ftations. Where- 
ever it is confidered as due, nobody, of what rank foevtr, with- 
holds it ; and wherever it is not due, one would not only expofe 
one's felf to ridicule by giving it, but, inftead of paying a com- 
pliment to the perfon addrefled, would put him out of counte- 
nance. It cannot therefore with us, ferve as a token of fubjec- 
tion in the perfon who gives it. Such is the confequence of tiie 
different footing whereon things now ftand, that the titles which, 
in thofe times of fimplicity, were merely relative and ambulato- 
ry, are now abfolute and flationary. Whereas the man who, in 
thofe ages, was well entitled to the compellation of lord in one 
company, had no title to it at all in another. It happens v/ith us 
frequently, (to wit, as often as two or more who, by law or cul- 
tom, have a right to that mark of refpeft, converfe together), 
that the title of lord is reciprocally given and taken by the fame 
perfons. But of this I do not recolledt a fingle inftance in Scrip- 
ture. Such a tiling to the ancients muft, doubtlefs, have appear- 

. ed 
* (^-'"^. ixxii, a,, 5. xxxiii. 5. 8. xlii, 10. 1 Kings xviii. 7. 9. 


ed ridiculous, as an acknowledgment of fuperiority in the perfoa 
on whom it was conferred, was always underilood to be convey- 
ed by it. For, though it was fometimes, as I obferved, politely 
given to an equal, he was thereby treated as luperior ; and, as 
each could not be fupericr, to retort the title on him who gave it, 
mull have been contidered by them as an indelicate rejection of 
the civility ofTered. To their fentiments it feems to have been 
more conformable, that the honour fliould be repaid with fome 
other marks of rcfpeft or affeftion by the perfon who received 
it. The facl, if ] remember right, is certain ; this manner of 
accounting for if, I acknowlege to be no more than conjecture ; 
but it is a conjecture which fome paiTages in ancient hiflory, par- 
ticularly the converfation of Abraham with Ephron and the fons 
of Heth, Gen.xxiii. 3. &c. and Jacob's interview with his elder 
brother Efau, ch.xxxiii. 1, — 15. after an abfcnce of more than 
fourteen years, render not improbable. 

§ 7. The title of viajler (for the Hebrew adon, and the Greek 
kyrios, fignify no mere) was perhaps univerfail}' the firft v.hich, 
by a kind of catachrefis, was beltov.ed on a fuperior, or a perfon 
confidered as fuch, by one who was not his fcrvant or dependent. 
But ftili, as it implied the acknowledgment of fuperiority, it 
varied with the company. There v.-ere few fo low who were 
not entitled to this honourable compellaticn from fome perfons ; 
there were none (the king alone excepted) fo high as to be enti 
tied to it from every perfon. Joab, who was captain general of 
the army, is properly ftjled by Uriah, 2 Sam. xi. 11. who was 
only an inferior officer, my lord Joab, bat had the king himfelf, 
or any of the princes, given him that title, it conld have been 
underftood no otherwife than in derifion. It would have been as 
if the fovereign ftiould call any of his minillers his matter. The 
t\\\^ father^ though held in general fuperior to lord^ yet as the 
refpecl expreffed by it, implied fupericrity, not in ftation, but in 
years, experience and knowledge, was fometimes given to the 
prophets of the true God, even by kings. Thus the prophet Elifha 
is in this manner addrefled by the king of Ifrael, a Kings vi. 21. 
but no prophet is ever denominated lord or mailer by one veiled 
with the fupreme authority. B) others the prophets were often 
fo denominated. Thus Obadiah, who vt'as fteward of the king's 
houfehold, calls the prophet Elijah, my lord Elijah, i Kings 
xviii. 7. 13. The fame title we find alfo given to Elifha, 2 Kings 
ii.19. iv. 16. 28. Whereas to the king himfelf, the common ad- 
drefs, from men of all ranks, was, my lord, king^ or, as the 
expreffion llrictly implied, king^ my mafter ; but by the king, 
the title my lord^ or my mafter^ was given to none but God. 
The reafon is obvious. A monarch, who was not tributary, ac- 
knowledged, in point of llation, no earthly fuperior. And though 
in any rank inferior to the higheft, good breeding might require 


it to be conferred on an equal, the royal dignity appears general- 
ly to have been conlidered as of too delicate a nature to admit 
the ufe of fuch compliments without derogation. Croefus king 
of Lydia, is reprefer.ted by Herodotus*, as giving the title 
he-Ts-oTii?, which is of the fame import, to Cyrus, king of Perfia j 
but it was after his kingdom was conquered by Cyrus, and when 
he hlmfelf was his captive, and coniequently, according to the 
ufages of thofe times, his flave. Before that event, he would 
have difdained to falute any man with this compellation. Ahab 
king of Ifrael, ftyled Benhadad king of Syria, 7ny lord ; but it 
was when, through fear, he confented to furrender himfelf, and 
all that he had, into ins hands, 1 Kings xx. 4. 

I am not, however, certain that the politenefs of the Orientals, 
which, in the judgment of the Greeks, favoured of fei vility, did 
not fometimes carry them thus far; for, thouf:;h no fuch title is 
found in the converfation between Solomon and the queen of 
Sheba, 1 Kings x. or betwceti jehofhaphat king of Judah, and 
Ahab king of Ifrael, i Kings xxii. 2 Ghron. xviii. as related 
cither in the Firft Book of Kings, or in the Second Book of 
Chronicles : or in the correfpondence between Hiram kinc- of 
Tyre and Solomon, as related in the Firft Book of Kings, ch.ix. 
lo. Sec. yet, in the account we have of this correfpondence in 
the Second Book of Chronicles, ch. ii. 14, 15. which is by the 
bye of much later date, Hiram is repretented as giving this title 
to both David and Solomon. Whether this ought to be confi- 
dered as merely a {train of eaftern complaifance, or as an ac- 
knowledgment of fubordination, a itate to which many of the 
neighbouring princes had been reduced by thofe monarchs, I will 
not take upon me to fay. But it may hold as a general truth, 
that when this title is found given to a man in any ancient au- 
thor, particularly in Scripture, before we can judge from it of 
the quality of the perfon accofted, we muft know fomething of 
the quality of the perfon that accofts. It is not fo with us, or in 
any Chriftian European country at prefeat. When we find one 
addreffed with the title of highnefs^ or grace^ or lordjhip., we dif- 
eover his rank, without needing to know any thing of the ad- 
drefler, fave only that he is not ignorant of the current forms of 

When we find that Mary ?>'Iagualene addrelTcs, with the title 
of lord (xv^<£ is her word, John xx. 15,3 one whom il:e took to 
be no higher than a gardener, wc are apt to accufe her in our 
hearts, either of flattery or of grofs ignorance, to accoft a man 
in fo low a ftation with fo high a title. But the ignorance is en- 
tirely our own, when wc would vainly make our ideas, modes 
and ufages, a ftandard for other ages and nations. Mary and a 
gardener might, in the world's account, have been on a level in 

* Lib. I. 

248 P R E L I M I N A R i 

point of rank. If fo, as he was a flranger to her, modefty and 
the laws of courtefj led her to yield to him the faperiority, by 
giving hina this refpeclful title. Abraham's fervant was addrefl- 
ed. in the fame way by Rebtkah, before £he knew him, Gen. 
xxiv. 18. Paul and Silas, who cannot be fuppofed fuperior in 
figure and appearance to ordinary mechanics, were, after having 
been publicly liripped, beaten, imprifoned, and put in the ftoeks. 
accofted with the titl^ »v§<oj lords, Acts xvi. 30. though the com- 
mon tranflation has it firs. But it was given by a jailor, and, it 
may be added, after a miraculous interpofition of heaven in their 
favour. To fatisfy us, however, that this lafl circumflance was 
not neceffary to entitle mean people to be addreffed in this man^ 
ner by thofe whofe condition was equally mean or meaner, we 
may obferve that the fame title xv^n is given to Philip, John xii. 
21. one of the apoftles from Bcthfaida of Galilee, who was pro- 
bably net above the rank of a fiiherman. The perfons who 
gave it were Greeks, doubtlefs of the lowefl fort, who had come 
to Jerufalem to worfliip. With us, the title lord, given to one 
who by law or cuftom has no right to it, is a fort of injury to 
the whole order to whom the conftitution of their country has 
given an exclufive privilege to be fo denominated. With them 
it could afFccl no third perfon whatever, as it implied merely 
that the perfoa fpokcn to wa?, by the fpeaker, acknowledged his 

It may appear to fome an obje£lion againfl this account of the 
relative import of the w'ords adon and kyrios^ that in the En- 
glifh Bible, we find the title lord, in one place of the facred hi- 
llory, ufed as we fhould ufe the word nobleman or grandee, for 
denoting a perfon of a certain determinate rank. Thus we are 
informed of a lord, on whofe hand king Jehoram leaned, who is 
mentioned thrice under this defcription in the fame chapter, 
1 Kings vii. a. 17. 19. I acknowledge, that if the Hebrew word 
there were adon, and the Greek kyrios^ it would fufhce to over- 
turn what has been here adv-anced in regard to the difference be* 
tween the ancient ufe of fuch titles and the modern. But it is 
not adon and kyrios. In neither language is it a title of honour, 
but a mere name of office. In Hebrew it is C /li^ J^cilijh^ in 
Greek t^h-xtvh-, trijlates., a word vvhich occurs often in other 
places, and is never tranflated lord^ but always captain, as it 
ought to have been rendered here. The Vulgate interprets it 
not dominns quidam^ but very properly unus de ducibus. Again, 
in the common verfion, we find mention of the king and his lords, 
Ezraviii. 25. precifely in the manner wherein an Englilb hifto- 
rlan would fpeak of his fovereign and the peers of the realm. 
But neither here is the Hebrew word adon, nor the Greek kyrios. 
It is Vy^Jharaio, in the former, and «'« cc^x^^th «vt» in the latter. 
In the Vulgate, it is rendered princ'pes ejus^ and ought to have 



been in Englifti, his chief men, or his principal officers. 
Whereas V^IN adonaio in Hebrew, 0* >cvg(»; «yT» in Greek, and 
domini ejus in Latin, would have meant his mafters^ or thofe 
whom he ferved, a fi*nfe quite foreign from the purpofe. But 
though our word lords, ufed as in the above quotations, is not un- 
fuitable to the EngliOi ftyle, it would have been better in fuch 
inftances to conform to the Hebiew idiom, for a reafon which 
will appear from the next paragraph. Herod is faid, by our 
tranilatois, to have made a fupper to his lords., Mark vi. 2I. 
The word is ^".yi^atriv grandees. I fhrdl only advi, that the term 
lords is alfo ufed in the Englifli tranflation, where the corre- 
fpondin.o" words, both in Hebrew and in Gi'eek, are names of of- 
fices equivalent to rulers, magiftrates, governors of provinces. 
And therefore nothing can be concluded from the application of 
this title in the verlion. 

§ 8. Now, with the aid of the above obfervations, on the re- 
lative value of honorary titles amonsf the ancients, we may dif- 
cover the full force of our Saviour's arfrument, in regard to the 
dignity of the Meffiah. The modern life, in this particular, is 
fo different from the ancient, that, without knowing this circum- 
llance, and reflefting upon it, a proper apprehenfion of the rea- 
foning is unattainable. I {hall give the whole paiTage as render- 
ed in this verfion, Matt. xxii. 41. &.c. While fo maJiy Phari- 
fees were prefent.^ "J^f^^ afked them., f^y^^Si ^^^^ think ye of the 
Mtfjiah ? IVhofe fon f}?07ild he he ? 1 hey anfivered, David's, He 
replied., How then doth David., fpeahing by infpiration, call him 
hit Lord ? The Lord., faith he^ faid to my Lord. Sit at my right 
band., until I make thy foes thy footftool. If the Mefjiuh were 
David^s fon., would David call him his Lord? To this none of 
them could anfwer. They were confounded. Yet from our very- 
different ufages, whereby fuch titles, if due at all, are due alike 
from fuperiors as from inferiors and equals ; we cannot eafily, at 
firft, feel the flrength of this argument. I have obferved alrea- 
dy, that an independent monarch, fuch as David, acknowledged 
no lord or mailer but God. Far iefs would he bellow this title 
on a ion or defcendent. It was cuftomary, becaufe refpe£lful, 
and in the natural order of iubordination, for a fon fo to addrefs 
his father. Accordingly, in the parable of the man who had 
two fons, the elder fon is tiius reprefented as anfwering his fa- 
ther, Ey« xyg<s, Matt. xxi. 3c. It is the fame word which is 
commonly rendered /o/v^, but in this place ^a*. The fame title 
was alfo given by Rachel to her father Laban, when he came 
into her tent, in quefl of his images. Gen. xxxi. 35, and even by 
Jacob, after his return from Padan Aram, to his elder brotlier 
Efau, Gen. xxxli. 4, 5. In no inftance however will it be found 
'given by a father to his fon. This, according to their notions of 
paternal dignity and authority, which were incomparably higher 

Vol. T. 1 i than 


than ours, would have been prepofterous. The Pharifees, and 
other hearers, were fo fenfible of this, that, however much they 
fhewed themfelves, on moft occafions, difpofed to cavil, our 
Saviour's obfervation ftruck them dumb. None of them could 

5 9. Though the general belief of the Jews at that time was, 
that the Mcffiah would be a much greater man than David, a 
mighty conqueror, and even a univerfal monarch, the fovereign 
of the kings ot the earth, who was to fubdue all nations, and 
render them tributary to the chofen people ; yet they flill fup- 
pofed him to be a mere man, poffciTed of no higher nature than 
that which he derived from his earthly progeuitors. Though 
their rabbies at that time agreed that the words quoted were fpo* 
ken of the Mefliah, and fpoken by David, the difficulty fuggeft- 
eft by our Lord feems never to have occurred to them ; and now, 
that it was mentioned, they appeared by their filence, to admit 
that, on the received hypothefis, it was incapable of a folution. 
It was plainly our Saviour's intention to infinuate, that there was 
in this charafter, as delineated by the prophets, and fuggefted by 
the royal Pfalmifl, fomething fuperior to human which they were 
not aware of. And, though he does not, in exprefs words, give 
the folution, he leaves no perfon who reflefts, at a lofs to infer 
it. I have been the more particular in this illuflration, in order 
to (hew of how much importance it is, for attaining a critical 
acquaintance with the import of words in the facred languages, 
to become acquainted with the cuftoms, fentiments, and manner^ 
of the people. 

§ 10. The name y.v^toi, in the New Teftament, is moft fre- 
quently tranflated in the common verfion lord, fometimes y?r, 
fometimes mafter^ and once owner. It correfponds pretty nearly, 
except when it is emplo3ed in tranflating the name Jehovahy to 
the Latin dominus^ and to the Italian Jlgnore. But there is not 
anv one word, either in French or in Englifh, that will fo gene- 
rally anfwer. It may occafjonally be applied to a man in any 
llation except the very loweft, becaufe to men of every other fta- 
tion there are inferiors. It is alwajs proper as applied to God, 
to whom every creature is inferior. In the former of thefe ap- 
plications, namely to man, it frequently correfponds, but not in- 
variably, to the French monjieur^ and to the Englifh Jlr, or ma- 
Jler. In the application to God, it anfwers always to the French 
feigneur and to the Englifh lord. There is a necefTuy, in thefe 
two languages, of changing the term, in compliance with the 
idiom of the tongue. Domine in Latin, and Jignor in Italian, in 
like manner as kyrie in Greek, and adoni in Hebrew, are equally 
fuitable, in addreiBng God or man. But every body muft be 
fenfible, that this cannot be affirmed of the compellation of mon- 
Jleur in French, or fir in Englifh. 

§11. There 


§11. There is fomething fo peculiar in the Englifli ufe of 
thefe familiar titles, that it may be proper to take particular no- 
tice of it, before I proceed to the application of them in traufla- 
ting. In regard to the term yiV, the molt common of all, let it 
be obferved, firtl, that, in its ordinary acceptation, it is never 
ufed, except in the vocative anfvvering to J;jrie and domine ; fe- 
condly, that it is never joined to the name of a perfon, neither 
to the Chriftian name, nor to the furname. When the proper 
name is ufed, majier, not Jir, mult be prefixed. I fay this of the 
word Jir, in its ordinarv acceptation ; for when it ferves as the 
diftinguiftiing title of knighthood, it is ufed in all the cafes, and 
is always prefixed to the- Chriftian name. But for this applica- 
tion there is no occafion in tranflating. The third thing 1 (hall 
obferve, on the ordinary acceptation of the word, is, that it ne- 
ver admits the article, either definite or indefinite. This, indeed, 
is a confequence of its ufe being confined to the vocative. Lail- 
ly, it h^as not a proper plui'al. The word T^rj, originally ihe 
plural, and equally refpedlful with the fingular, is now rarely 
ufed. When it is ufed, it is witli fome difference in meaning. 
The compellation^r, almoft always iliews refpedl ; but /frj fhews 
a degree of familiarity hardly conlillent with refpedl. It is moil 
commonly employed in fpeaking to a crowd, or to inferiors. We 
ufually fupply the plural oi Jir, in our addreffes to others, by the 
word gentlemen. But this bears fo ftrong a fignature of the dif- 
tindlions which obtain in modern Europe, that it could not be 
ufed with propriety in the tranflation of an ancient author. 

Now, as to the title of lord^ I have feveral peculiarities to 
obferve. In the firlt place, when in the vocative, without either 
the pofleffive pronoun my prefixed, or any name or title annexed, 
t\xh application is, invariably, according to the beft ufe at prefcnl, 
to God or Chriit. When it is addrelfed to men (now it is only 
to noblemen, and to perfons in certain eminent ftations that ule 
permits us to give itj, it is always either preceded by the pro- 
noun wj', or followed by the title, or both. Thus, to fay, Lord^ 
or, Lord help me ! i« nowhere proper, but in an addrefs to 
God : whereas, Helf) me^ my Lord^ is proper only when fpoken 
to a man. The diltindlion now taken notice of, is, if I miftake 
not, facredly obferved in the common verfion of the Old Tefta- 
ment. There are two cafes, indeed, in which my Lord, in the 
vocative is applied to God ; but the intention, in both, is fufl\. 
ciently marked. In one cafe, whereof there occur a few exam- 
ples, it is preceded by the interjcftion ! which adds folemnity 
to the invocation: 0! my Lord ^ Exod. iv. 10. 13. The other 
is, when it is coupled with my God, as in this, Pfal. xxxv. 23. 
yivoake to my Judgment^ my God, and my Lord. Another thing 
to be remarked is, that when the term lord has the definite arti- 
cle prefixed, with no name, title, or defcription fubjoined, it is to 



be underftood as fpoken of God, or of Chrift. When the word 
is applied to men, whether the article be, or be not ufed, the 
name or title ftiould be annexed. If the frequent recurrence of 
the title render it proper to omit it, we muft fay my lord^ not the 
lord, a6ted thus ; or we may fay, his lordjljip^ this laft form be- 
ing never ufed of a celeilial power. 

$ 12. So much for the wordsy?;- and lord^ as ufed by us at pre- 
fent. In regard to the term majler, there can be no quellion that 
it comes nearer the primitive fignification of xvg«ej, than either of 
the former. Kt^^/s? and JaAa? are correlates in Greek, juft as maf- 
ter and Jervant are in Englilli. Indeed, lord and fervant are 
thus ufed in the common verfion of the Gofpels, but not fo pro- 
perly. Vojfal^ not fervant^ is, in Englilh, correlative to lord*. 
At lead, it was fo anciently ; for both were feudal terms, the 
latter denoting the proprietor of the land, the former the tenant, 
or him who held it under the proprietor. But, with the gradual 
abolition of feudal cuftoms, the name vajfid has gone almofl in- 
to difufe ; whereas the import of the term lord has been greatly 
altered, in fome refpefts extended, and in fome refpetls limited. 
But fuch variations are incident to every language. A remain 
of this ufage, however, we have ftill in Scotland, in the meaning 
affigned to the word laird^ which is no other than the old Scots 
pronunciation of lord. In that dialed, it invariably denotes 
landlord., or, as Johnfon well explains it, lord of the manor. But 
to return : the reafon why our tranflators have chofen fometimes 
to contraft fervant and lord^ rather than fervant and mafter^ is 
becaufe they had preoccupied the word niafter., employing it to 
anfwer to ?<5i««-*«A6?." This made it neceflary to recur to fome other 
term, to anfwer to xfg'i>«, for which none fitter could be found 
than lord. I have thought it preferable to render St5tf5x«>.«;> more 
literally, teacher, and fay, Mat. x. 24. The difciple is not above 
his teacher, nor the fervant above his mafter. That the motive 
of our tranflators was precifely what I have mentioned, is evi- 
dent from this, that in the numerous paflages in the Epiilles, 
where the obfervance of the relative duties of mafters and fer- 
vants is inculcated, the word xvg/o--, as well as Sis-jroT*!?, is always 
rendered mafter., and net lord. But there is an ambiguity, which 
arifes from rendering 5<S«9-)tflcA«? mafter, when the context does not 
point out what kind of mafter is meant. In the words of James, 
ch. iii. I. Mjj xoAA«< ^itxffKuXct ytm^Bi, as expreffed in the common 
tranflation. Be not many mafters, hardly any of the unlearned 
fuppofe him to be fpeaking of teachers. 

§ 13. Now, let us confider the ordinary method which our 
tranflators have follov^ed, in tlie hifl;ory of Jefus Clirift. One 
who reads the Bible with refledion (which not one of a thoufand 

* Blackftonc's Com. B. II. ch. 4. 


does), is aftonifhed to find, that on the very firft appearance of 
Jefus Chrirt, as a teacher, though attended with no exterior marks 
of fplendour and majefty ; though not acknowledged by the great 
and learned of the age ; though meanly habited, in a garb not 
fuperior to that of an ordinary artificer, in which capacity we have 
ground to believe he affift^d his fuppofed father in his earlier 
days, Markvi. 3. ; he is addreffed by almoft every body in the 
peculiar manner in which the Almighty is addreflad in prayer. 
Thus the leper. Mat. viii. 2. Lord, if thou iviit, thou canjt make 
me clean. Thus the centurion, ver. 6. Lord, my fervant lieth 
at home. The Canaanitifti woman crieth after him, ch. xv. ii. 
Have mercy on me, Lord. He is likewife mentioned fonie- 
times under the fiinple appellation of The Lord, John xx. 2. 
without any addition, a form of exprelTion which, in ihe Old 
Teftament, our tranllators, as above oblervod, had invariably ap- 
propriated to God. What is the meaning of this ? Is it that, 
from his firit fhowing himfelf in public, all men believed him to 
be the Meffiah ; and not only fo, but to be pofTeiitid of a divine 
nature, and entitled to be accofted as God ? Far from it. The 
utmoft that can with truth be affirmed cf the multitude, is, that 
they believed him to be a prophet. And even thofe who, in 
procefs of time, came to think him the Meffiah, never formed a 
conception of any charadter, as belonging to that title, fuperior 
to that of an earthly fovereign, or of any nature fuperior to the 
human. Nay, that the Apollles ihemfelves, before his refurrec- 
tion, had no higher notion, it were eafy to prove. What then is 
the reafon of this ftrange peculiarity ? Does the original give any 
handle for it ? None m the leaft. For, though the title that is 
given to him, is the fame that is given to God, it is fo far from 
being peculiarly fo, as is the cafe with the Englifli term fo cir- 
cumftanced, that it is the common compellation of civility given 
not only to every ftranger, but to almoft every man of a decent 
appearance, by thofe v-hofe ftation does not place them in an 
evident fuperioiity. 

It is the title with which Mary Magdalene acofled one whom 
llie fuppofed to be a gardener, Johnxx. 15. It is the title given 
by fome Greek profelytes to the Apoftle Philip, John xii. 21. 
probably a fiiherman of Galilee. It is the title with which Paul 
the tentmaker, and Silas his companion, were faluted by the 
jailor "at Thyatira, Adsxvi. 3c. Lallly, it is the title with 
v.'hich Pontius Pdate, the Roman procurator, a pagan and idola- 
ter, is addreffed by the chief prielts and Pharifees, Matth. xxvii. 
6^. And though the Jewifh rulers would not refufe what was 
merely refpeftfiil to the Roman procurator, who as fuch was 
their fuperior, we may be fure they would not have given him a 
title that could be underllood to imply any thing facred or divine. 
Our tranllators have been fu f.^-orilde of this, that even in the ap- 


plication to the chief magiftrate within the country, they have 
thought fit to render it only fir. Further, it is the title whicli 
thofe gave to Jefus, who, at the time they gave it, knew nothing 
about him. In this manner, the Samaritan woman at Jacob's 
well addreffed him, John iv. il. when fhe knew no more of him 
than that he was a Jeiv, which would not recommend him to 
her regard. Thus alfo he was addrefled by the impotent man 
"who lay near the pool of Bethefda, John v. 7. who, as we It-arn 
from the fequel of the ftory, did not then know the perfon who 
converfed with him, and who foon proved his benefactor. , In 
thefe places indeed, and fome others which might be mentioned, 
our tranflators have rendered the word xyg<s, not lord^ but ftr. 
Why they have not uniformly done fo, when the term is given 
by contemporaries to Jefus refiding on the earth, it would be im- 
poflible to aflign a good reafon. The only reafon I can imagine, 
is the uniform pradice that obtains very properly amongft his 
followers fince his afcenfion, now when all power in heaven and 
on earth is committed to him, Matth. xxviii. 18. now when he 
is made head over all things unto his church, Eph.i. 22. and 
hath received a name that is above every name, Phil. ii. 9, &,c. 
that at the name of Jefus every knee fliould bow of things in 
heaven, and things on the earth, and things under the earth, and 
every tongue ftiould confefs that Jefus Chrift is LORD, to the 
glory of God the Father; in one word, now when men are more 
efpecially obliged to honour the Son even as they honour the 
Father, John v. 23. 

Is there any fitnefs in thus exhibiting the honours of deity, as 
appropriated to him in the very time of his humiliation, when 
for our fakes, he was pleafed to veil his glory, Phil. ii. 6. when 
he made himfelf of no reputation, diverted himfelf, as the ex- 
preffion ftriftly implies, and took upon him the form of a fer- 
vant ? Or is there any confiftency in reprefenting men as ufing 
this ftyle, whofe fentiments, on examination, will not fupport 
it ? The higheft to w^hich the faith of any of the people, not bis 
difciples, at that time rofe, was to think that he was John the 
Baptift rifen from the dead, Jeremiah, or one of the prophets, 
Matth. xvi. 13. &c. But where do we find any of the Prophets 
addrefled vvitli that peculiarity of idiom, which commonly dif- 
tinguifhes the Deity ? There is, therefore, in this manner of 
tranflating, a very great improoriety, firft, as it produces an in- 
eonfiftency between the ftyle of the perfons introduced, and what 
from the hiftory itfelf we difcover of their fentiments ; fecondly, 
as it thereby, to a mere Engliih reader, throws a degree of in- 
credibility on the whole narrative. 

§ 14. If they had uniformly tranflated the word Kv^ii lord^ to 
whomfoever applied, they would have done better ; becaufe 
every reader of cxsmmon fenfe mull have perceived that the word 



was employed, not according to the Eni^lifb idiom, but according 
to the ul'age of a tongue very ditFerent. btiU, however, by com- 
paiini^ the various places where it occurs, it would have been 
pradticable to reduce the term to its proper value. Not that I 
approve this fervile manner of tranflating, any more than that in 
the oppofirc extreme called liberal. To tranflate the words, but 
not the idiom, is doing but half, and much the eafier half, of the 
work, of a tranflator, and never fails to render obfcure and enig- 
matical in the tranflation, what is perfpicuous and fimple in the 
original. But our interpreters have, in this particular, followed 
neither the Hebrew idiom nor the Englifh, but adopted a pecu- 
liarity in regard to Jefus Chrill, which reprefents molt of his 
contemporaries, as entertaining the fame opinions concerning 
him, which are now entertained among Chrillians. Now, no- 
thing can be more manifefl than that, in thofe days, the ideas of 
his Apoftlcs themfelves v»'ere far inferior to what we entertain. 

To do juftice, therefore, to our idiom, to preferve at once con- 
iiiiency, perfpicuity, and propriety, it is neceiTary that the word 
xyg/o?, in an addrefs to heaven, be rendered Lord^ or Lord ; 
when the Supreme Being is not addreffed, but fpoken of, the 
Lord ; in addrefling a king, or eminent magillrate, my lord ; and 
in other ordinary cafes, Jir. Sometimes from a fervant to his 
mailer, or from one in immediate fubordination, to a perfon on 
whom he depends, it may be more emphatical to fay majler. 
Let it, however, be obferved, that in tranflating the Scripture, 
Kv^iD^ prefixed to a proper name, cannot be rendered either Jir or 
majier, immediately followed by the name, on account of the 
particular idea which that mode of expreflion conveys to us. Let 
it be alfo obferved, that what 1 have faid of kyrios, as applied to 
Jefus Chrift, regards purely its application in the Gofpels. It 
is plain, that after Chrift's afcenfion into heaven, and exaltation 
to the right hand of the Father, he is viewed in a very different 
light. AddrelTes to him are conveyed only by prayer, and ought 
to be clothed in its language. When we fpeak of him, it ought 
TO be, not as of a lord^ one pofleired of great power and emi- 
nence, but as of The Lord of the creation, the heir of all things, 
to whom all authority in heaven and upon earth, and all judg- 
ment, are committed by the Father. That expreffion of Tho- 
mas, therefore, Kv^iog y-a xxi Qio? y,^, Johnxx. 28. cannot be 
otherwife rendered than it has been rendered by our tranflators. 
My Lord and my God. It is manifeft, from the exclamation, that 
Thomas viewed his Mafler now fince his refurretlion, though not 
yet afcended, in a light in which he had never viewed him before. 
For thefe reafons, I think that in general no alteration would be 
proper in the way of rendering the word Kveio', as applied to Je- 
fus, either in the A£ls or in the Epiftles. The cafe is different 
in the Gofpels. 

§ 15. It 


§ 15. It is proper to take notice, before I conclude this ar- 
ticle, that the word kv^io; is in the Septuagint aUo emplojed in 
tranflating the Hebrew word r\'\r[^ 'Jehovah, the incommunica- 
ble naiBe of God. Though this is a proper name, and not an 
appellative, the Seventy, probably from the fuperfliiious opinion 
which had arifen among the Jews (for it was evidently not from 
the beginning), that it was dangerous to pronounce that v/ord, and 
confequentiy to adopt it into another language, have thought fit to 
render it always »:vf<«,-, an appellative whicli, as we have fcen, is 
of very extenfive application. Nay, in reading the Hebrew 
Scriptures, in the fynagogue fervice, their dodlors to this day al- 
ways read adon^ or adoni. Lord, or my Lord^ where they find 
Jehovah. The writers of the New Teftament, who wrote in 
Greek, have fo far conformed to the ufage of their countrymen, 
tliat they have never introduced this name in their writings. In 
quoting ftom the Old Tedamer.t, they have adopted the method 
of the Seventy, whofe words they frequently ufe. The genera- 
lity of Chriilian tranflators have in this imitated their praftice. 
Our own, in particular, have only in four places of the Old Tef- 
tament ufed the name 'Jehovah. In all other places, which are 
almoft innumerable, they render it the Lord. But, for diftinc- 
tion's fake, when this word correfponds to Jehovah., it is printed 
in capitals. 

I once thought, that in tranflating the New Teftament, the 
word Jehovah might properly be replaced, wherever, in a quota- 
tion fiom the Old, that name was ufed in the Hebrew. On more 
mature refiedion I now think differently. Jt feemed good to 
iijfinite wifdora, in the old difpenfation, when a peculiar nation 
was chofen, and contradiftinguilhed to all others, fo far to conde- 
fcend to the v;eaknefs of his creatures, as to diftinguilL himfelf 
as their God, by an appropriated name, which might difcrimi- 
nate him with them from the gods of the nations ; the general 
names God and Lord being applied to them all. But, in the 
Gofpel difpenfation, wherein all fcch diftindtions were to be abo- 
lilhed, it was proper that there Ihould remain nothing which 
might appear to reprefent God as a national or local deity. A 
proper name is not necefl'ary where there are no more than one 
•of a kind. We are not fenfible of the want of a proper name 
for the fun, the moon, or the earth. It is not fuicable in the in- 
terpreter of the New Teftament, to ftiow a greater nicety of dif- 
tinftion than the facred penmen have warrantrd. It belongs ra- 
ther to the annotator, than to the tranflator, to mark fuch diffe- 
rences. In tranftating the Old Teftament, the diftinclion, in my 
iudgment, ought to be facredly preferved, for the very fame rea- 
fon that no diftinclion ought to be made in the New. The tran- 
flator ought faithfully to reprefent his original v as far as the lan- 


guage which he writes is capable of doing it. So much for the 
import of the word x.v^io?, and the different fenfes that it bears, 
according to the application. 


A«o<ac(7Xflt>^«?, Rabbi. 

X PURPOSE now to make a few obfervations on the word ^i^xirxci- 
Aes, and fome other titles of rfefpedl current in Judea in the days 
of our Saviour. After the Babylonifh captivity, when Jerufa- 
lem and the temple were rebuilt, and the people reftored to their 
ancient pofleffions, care was taken, under the conduct of Ezra, 
and thofe who fucceeded hinn in the adminiftration of afFaii;;, to 
prevent their relapfing into idolatry, which had brought fuch ac- 
cumulated calamities on their country. It was jultly confidered 
as one of the beft expedients for anfwering this end, as we learn 
partly from Scripture, and partly from Jewifh writers, to pro- 
mote amongft all ranks the knowledge of God and of his law, 
and to excite the whole people throughout the land to join regu- 
larly in the public worfhip of the only true God. For their ac- 
commodation, fynagogues came, in procefs of time, to be erefted 
in every city and village where a fufficient number of people 
could be found to make a congregation. Every fynagogue had 
its dated governors and prefident, that the public fervice might 
be decently conduced, and that the people might be inftru6led 
in the facred writings, both the law and the prophets. The fy- 
nagogues were fitted for anfwering among them the like purpofes 
with parilh-churches amongft us Chriftians. But this was not 
all. That the fynagogues might be provided with knowing paf- 
tors and wife rulers, it was necelTary that there fhould alfo be 
public leminaries or fchools, wherein thofe who were deftined to 
teach others, were to be taught themfelves. And fo great was 
their veneration for thefe fchools or colleges, that tliey accounted 
them more facred than even fynagogues, and next, in this refpeft, 
to the temple. They maintained that a fynagogue might law- 
fully be converted into a fchool, but not a fchool into a fyna- 
gogue. The former was afcending, the latter defcending. Both 
were devoted to the fervice of God ; but the fynagogue, fay 
they, is for the fpiritual nourifhment of the fheep, the fchool for 
that of the fhepherds. 

§ 2. Now their fchools were properly what we ftiould call 
divinity colleges j for in them they were inftru£led in the facred 
language, the ancient Hebrew, not then the language of the 

Vol. I. K k country. 


country, in the law and the traditions, the writings of the Pro- 
phets, the holy cerenaonies, the ftatutes, cuftoms, and procedure 
of their judicatories ; in a word, in whatever concerned the ci%ii 
conftitution and religion of their country. I make this diftinc- 
tion, of civil and religious, more in conformity to modern and 
Chriftian notions, than in reference to ancient and Jevvifh. In 
that polity, thefe were fo interwoven, or rather blended, as to be 
infeparable. Their law was tlieir religion, and their religion 
was their law ; infomuch that with them there was a perfeft 
coincidence in the profellions of lawyer and divine. But as to 
their mode of education, that they had fome kind of fchcols 
long before the time above mentioned, even from the beginning 
of their eftabiifhment, under Jofhua, in the land of Canaan, or, 
at leaft, from the time of Samuel, can hardly be made a queltion. 
A certain progrefs in letters had been made very early bv this 
people, and regularly tranfmitted from one generation to another. 
But this feems evidently to have been without fuch fixed femi- 
naries as were erected and endowed afterwards ; elfe it is impof- 
fible there fhould be fo little notice of them in fo long a trad of 
time, of which, as far as religion is concerned, we have a hillory 
pretty particular. All that appears before the captivity, on this 
fubjeft, is, that numbers of young men were wont, for the fake 
of inftrufiion, to attend the moil eminent Prophets, and were 
therefore called the fons, that is, the difciples, of the Prophets, 
and that, in this manner, were conftituted a fort of ambulatory 
fchools, for communicating the knowledge of letters, and of the 
law. In thefe were probably taught the elements of the Hebrew 
mufic and verfification. We are informed alfo, 2 Chron. xvii. 
7,8,9. that Jehofliaphat, king of Judah, fent Priefts, Levites, 
and others, to teach in all the cities of Judah. But this appears 
to have been merely a temporary meafure, adopted by that pious 
monarch for the inftruftion of the people in his own time, and 
not an eftabiifhment, which fecured a fucceflion and continuance. 
Now, this is quite different from the ereftion that obtained af- 
terwards in their cities, of a fort of permanent academies, for the 
education of the youth deftined for the upper ftations in fociety. 
§ 3. Further, to give the greater luftre to thofe feminaries, 
they were commonly men of note, in rtfpeft of their ftation and 
quality, as well as diftijiguifhed for their learning, who were ap- 
pointed to prtfide and teach in them. Thefe Were moftly Priefts 
and Levites ; but not entirely : for eminent per fons, from other 
tribes, were alfo admitted to fhare in this honour. No fooner 
did erudition become an objeft of national attention in Judea j 
no fooner were endowments made for advancing and promoting 
it, than the emulation of literary men was excited to attain the 
honours peculiar to the profeflion, by having the diredlion, or a 
principal part in the teaching, in fome noted fchool. Even a 



certificate, from the perfons qualified, of being equal to the charge, 
was not a little prized. Though, at firll fight, it may appear but 
a fmall circumftance, it will be admitted, by the judicious to be 
a confiderable evidence that, in our Saviour's time, learning was 
in general and high efteem among the Jews, to find that thofe 
titles which related to the bufinefs of teaching, were, with fo 
much folicitude courted, and with fo much oilentation difplayed, 
by perfons of diilinftion. Of this kind, the honorary titles, yb- 
tber, rahbi^ doElor, or teacher^ g^^^^, or condu&or^ the name 
fcribe^ often indeed a name of office, lawyer, doftor of law^ may 
juftly be accounted. I do hot, however, mean to affirm, that all 
thefe titles are of different import. Some of them, as will foon 
appear, are jullly held fynonymous. 

§ 4. Some of thefe had come into ufe but a little before our 
Saviour's time. This was the cafe, in particular, of that moft 
celebrated title rabbi, or as for fome time it feems to have been 
ditfinguifhed into rab, and rabban, with fome difference of figni- 
iication. In the Old Teftament, we find the term HI rab, in 
compofition with fome other word, employed as a name of office 
and dignity, but not till the people became acquainted with the 
Chaldeans, concerning whom only it is ufed. The word, both 
in Hebrew and in Chaldee, figrtifies fometimes great ^ fometimes 
many, and, when ufed fubfiantively, denotes one who is at the 
head of any bufinefs, of whatever kind it be. Thus 73nn 11"^ 
rab hacbibel^ ]ov.z\\'\.6. is, in the Septuagint, ^r^^^suj, CD'nllD 
m rai tebachim^ Jer. xxxix. 1 1. «^;t;-',^««y-'S<''^ chief cook. The 
word will bear this veriion, but it does not fuit the context in 
the palTage^where it is found, and iID'D'ID D1 rab Jerifim^ Dan. 
1.3. otoyjvjr,i-)(^(i-;, the firft rendered in the Englilh verfion, y2'i/>- 
majter, the fecond, captain of the guard, and the third, niajier of 
the eunuchs. It is ufed in the plural alfo for chief nisn, in gene- 
ral, fuperintendants, or thofe at the head of affairs. Thus, 
"^/Dn 0~) rabbe hammeltch, Jer. xxxix. 13. are the chief men 
employed by the king over the different departments of the ftate. 
It is rendered the princes of the king in the common tranflation. 
The original term fuits entirely the import of the Latin word 
princeps, but not of the Eugliih word prince, at leaft in its moll 
common acceptation : for it is not the king's fons, or any order 
of nobles, who are fo denominated. The word amono- the Chal- 
deans, appears evidently to have been equivalent to the term '\^ 
fhar among the Hebrews. Accordingly, he who is flyled by 
Daniel, in the pafTage above quoted, D^DHD 2"1, is four times, 
in the fame chapter, called ID^DnDn IJi^ Jhar haferijtm, Dan. 
i. 7, 8, 9. 18. And t'nis ufe of the name rab feems to have 
continued long in Sj-ria, as well as in Chaldea. Thus, in the 
Syriac New Teftament, it is found, in the fame manner, united 
with the common appellation of any fort of officer, in order to 



denote the principal perfon in that office. Thns, rab-cohana^ 
Mat. %x\\. 51. is the high-prieft, rab-macbfa is chief of the publi- 
cans, Lukexix. 2. and rab-raghotha 1 Pet. v. 4, is chief (hepheid. 
Rab^ conftrued in this manner, is equivalent to the Greek »e,yj, 
as ufed in ccmpofition. The preceding titles are accordingly 
thus expreffed in Greek, uf^yji^ivi, tt^-^no.urf.i, and t(.^yjxttu.rii. 

Again, the word rab is fometimes found in that verfion, com- 
bined, not with the title of any fort of officer, but with a term 
denoting the office or charge itfelf ; in which cafe it always 
means the perfon who is principally entrufted with the bufinefs. 
Thus, rab beth^ Matth. xx. 8 is the fteward, smT^e^ig^ he who is 
over the houfehold ; and rab canojhetba, Mark v. 35. is the ruler 
of the fynagogue, «5;i<5-y»«yiwye;. It is not unlikely, though I do 
not find any example of it in Scripture, that the term has at firil 
been fimilarly compounded with fome word fignifying a fchool, 
or, perhaps, with the name of the art or fcience taught, in order 
to denote the overfeer of fuch a feminary, or the teacher of fuch 
an art. This hypothefis is at lead favoured by analogy. As 
ufe, however, is variable, it appears, from what has aftually 
happened, extremely probable, that when all other applications 
of the term have been dropped, it has ftill remained as an ho- 
nourable compellation of the learned. And when the term rab 
came to be peculiarly applied to fuch, the word wherewith it was, 
at firft, for diflinclion's fake, compounded, would be fuperfeded 
as unneceflary. 

It is, at lead, certain, that the Jewifh doctors, who refided at 
Babylon, about the dme of our Saviour, were called fimply rab. 
But, in the Old Teftament, there is no trace of fuch a title as rab^ 
rabbi, or rabban, given to a man of letters ; nor is any of the 
old prophets, or Scribes, or indeed any other perfon, diftinguifti- 
ed by this mark of refpecl prefixed to his name. Though the 
introduction of titles is always occafioned by the erection of ufe- 
ful and important offices, it is commonly in the decline of merit 
that pompous titles are moft afFedled. At firft, no doubt, vain 
glory has led many to affume them, to whom they did not be- 
long, in right of office, and an interefted adulation has induced 
others to give them. Some of them, however, came foon, 
among the Jews, to be converted into a kind of academical dif- 
tin£tions, which, to give them more weight, are faid to have been 
conferred folemnly in their fchools or colleges, accompanied with 
certain religious ceremonies. From this pradice, I may obferve 
by the way, fprang literary degrees in Chriftian univerfities, to 
which there is nothing fimilar in all Pagan antiquity, either 
Greek or Roman, but to which the Jewifti cuftom above men- 
•tioned bears an evident and clofe analogy. 

§ 5. Thofe who belonged to the fchool were divided into three 

clafles or orders. The lovveft was that of the difciples, or learn- 

^ ers ; 


ers; the fecond, that of the fellows, or companions, thofe v.ho, 
having nnade confiderable progrefs in learning, were occafionally 
eoiploved by the mafters, in teacliing tiie younger ftudents. 
The higheU was that of the preceptors or teachers, to whoia 
they appropriated the refpeclful title of doctor, or rabbi, which 
differs from rab only by the addition of the affix pronoun of the 
firft perlon. All belonging to the fchoolwere accounted honour- 
able in a certain degree. Even the loweft, the name difciple^ 
was conlidered as redounding to the honour of thole youths, who 
were fclefted from the multitude, had the advantage of a learn- 
ed education, and by their diligence and progrefs, gave hopes that 
they would one day fill with credit the moft important ttations. 
The title companion^ fellow, or ajfaciate, was conlidered as very 
honourable to the young graduate who obtained it, being a pu- 
blic teitin^ony of the proficiency he had made in his Itudies. 
And the title rabbi was their higheft academical honour. That 
it was oaly the youth, in what are called the genteeler flations, 
who had the advantage of a learned education, is manifeft from 
the contempt which our Lord's parentage drew on him, as a 
teacher, from his fellow-citizens. Whence^ fay they, Matt, xiii, 
54,55. batlj this man this wifdom ? Is not this tbt carpenter'' s 
fan '? They conclude that he mull be illiterate, from the mean 
condition of his parents. It was not the children of fuch tiien, 
\ve may reafonably infer, who were trained in thofe femiaa- 

In the Gofpels, ^^a^xAXa', is given as the Greek tranflation of 
the S} riac rflW^i, Johni. 38. Yet this word does not, as the 
Greek, literally fignify teacher ; but, having been conferred, at 
firll, as a mark of refpecl on actual teachers, and afterwards oa 
other learntd men, ^J«!rx«Aej was juflly accounted as appolite a 
veriion as the Greek language afforded. It is certain, the term 
rabbi began foon to be ufed with great latitude. But though it 
came gradually to be bellowed on thofe who were not actual 
teachers, it always retained, ever fince it had been appropriated 
to the learned, a relation to learning ; and, being underftood as an 
addition due only to literary merit, it ftill denoted that though 
the peiion who enjoyed it, might not be aclually employed in 
teaching, he was well qualified for the office. Rubhan is not the 
name of a degree fupevior to rohbi, though it feems intended for 
heightening the fignification. It may be underftood to denote 
eminent or learned rabbi, and appears to have been but very fel- 
dom ufed. The title rabhoni^ which we find twice given to our 
Lord, is rabban^ with the addition of the affix of the firft perfon, 
and accommodated to the pronunciation of Judea. One of thofe 
who addreffed him with this compellation, was blind Bartimeu?, 
when he applied for the recovery of his fight, Mark x. 51. The 



Other was Mary Magdalene, when flie firll faw Jefus after his re- 
furreclion, John xx. i6. 

That the ufe of the term rabban has not extended far beyond 
Paleftine, may be prefumed from the following circumftance. 
Though the word rabbi is very common in the Syriac tranflation, 
the Greek '^^^ctsrr.xM being generally fo rendered ; yet in the only 
place where that tranflator introduces the word rabbotii^ which is 
that qnoted from John, he prefixes in Hebrew, that is, in the dia- 
lect of Paleftine, which was then fo called, adding the explana- 
tion given by the evangelifl, that is^ teacher ; which plainly 
iliews that the word rabboni was not Syriac. This is the more 
remarkable, as in the ot^er paflage, where the hiftorian interprets 
in the fame manner the word rabb:^ adding, John i. 38. « AeyETae* 
i^Ky,nuou.iva» ^.^ois-x.x.>.!, that interpreter omits this explanatory claufe 
as intended only for the Grecian reader, and of no ufe to thofe 
who underflood Syriac. In the paffage in Mark, where rabboni 
occurs, as the evangelift had added no explanation, his interpre- 
ter has not thought it neceffary to change their own word rabbi. 
This is an evidence that he alfo confidcred the difference in figni- 
fication between the two words as inconfiderable. Another 
ftrong prefumption of the fame point is, that the apoftle John 
explains both by the fame Greek word. 

It may be obferved here by the way, that they likewife ufed 
to raife the import of a title by doubling it. Thus our Lord, 
fpeaking of the Pharifees, fays, They love to be called of men 
rabhi^ rabhi^ Matt, xxiii. 7. In this manner he was himfelf ad- 
drefftd by Judas at the time when that difciple chofe to affiinie 
the appearance of more than ordinary regard, Markxiv. 45. 
The title y-v^n feems to have been ufed in the fame manner. Not 
every one who faith unto me, Lord, Lord, y-v^n, xwgis. Matt. vii. 
21. This is very agreeable to the genius of the Oriental tongues, 
which often, by the repetition of an adjective, exprefs the fuper- 
lative degree. 

§ 6. I took notice once before that, in the common verfion of 
the Gofpels, St5«tyx«Aaj is generally rendered majler. I cannot 
fay that the word is rnifhranflated when fo rendered, fince it is the 
moft common title with us, wherewith fcholars addrefs their 
teacher. But it is rather too indefinite, as this term does not dif- 
tinguifli the relation meant from almoft any other relation, 
wherein fuperior and inferior are brought together. The word 
majler ferves equally for rendering xvgioj, Ses-TST))?, nzi<^a.rr,i, K-x^Yi'/nrriu 
as for h}xTK»Xoi. And therefore in many cafes, efpecially where 
the context requires a contra diftinftion to any of thofe terms, 
the word majler is not proper. It is indeed evident to me, that 
in the ordinary Helleniilic ufe, it correfponds nearly to the En- 
glifh word doBor. Both are honorary titles, expreffive of the 
qualifications of the perfan to whom they are given. Both are 



literary titles that relate to no other fort of merit but learning ; 
and both are folemnly conferred with certain ceremonies, which 
we call graduation^ by thofe who are accounted the proper judges. 
Our tranflators have, in one place, very properly rendered it 
doBor. Joleph and Mary, we are told, Luke ii. 46. found jefus 
in the temple fitting in the mid ft sf the doBors^ ii fAuot tui ^t^xcux- 
Xm. To have faid, in the midlt of the mafters, would have been 
a very vague expreffion of the fenfe. Nor have we reafon to 
believe that it would have been proper here to tranflate the word 
teacher Sy as it did not imply that they were fuch by profefilon. 
In compoluion, our interpreters have commonly rendered it doC' 
tors, Luke V. 17. 2 here were Pharijees and \iof/.o^i2xi7y.otMt, doc- 
tors of the law fitting hy. Again, Afts v. 34. There flood up 
one of the council, a Fharifee, named Gamaliel, ycf,t,oh^ucrxMXo;, a 
doBor of law. Befides, we are accuftomed to hear the words 
Jewijh rabbies and Jewijh doBors uftd fynonymoufly. In Juf- 
tin Martyr's dialogue with Trypho, the Jew, the rabbies are al- 
ways called '^t^aa-xM'hti. 

§ 7. But it may be objefted that this does not account for tbe 
application of the title to our Lord. As he did not derive his 
do6trine from any of thofe learned feminaries frequented by fuch 
of the youth as were reckoned the Hovver of the nation, the name 
doBor could not, with propriety, be applied to him. In anfwer 
to this, let it be obferved, firlt, that as in Judea at that tim.e they 
fpoke not Greek, but a dialecl of Chaldee, not differing confi- 
derably from what is called Syriac, it is evident that the adlual 
compellation, whereby our Saviour was addrefled, was rabbi. 
For this we have the exprefs teftimony of the apoftle John, in a 
paflage lately quoted, who, though writing in a different tongue, 
thought proper to mention the title ufually given him in the lan- 
guage of the country, adding, merely for the fake of thofe read- 
ers who knew nothing of the Oriental languages, that it is equi- 
valent to the Greek 3<5s«!r>c«Ao5. Now, as the Chaldaic word dors 
not literally fignify teacher^ which the Greek word does, their 
equivalence muft arife folely from the ordinary application of 
them as titles of refpeft to men of learning ; and in this view 
the Englilh word doBor is adapted equally to the tranllation of 

Secondly, though the title rahhi could regularly be conferred 
only by thofe who had the fuperintendency of their fchools, we 
have ground to believe that with them, as with us, the people 
would be ready to give the compellation through courtefy, and 
on the prefumption that it had been conferred,, wherever they 
faw or fuppofed diftinguifhed abilities in learning ; and this is 
moft probably the reafon why we find it given alfo to John the 
Baptiit, John iii. 26. 

Thirdly, in the Jewifh ftate, a divine commiffion was concei- 


ved to confer all forts of dignities and honours, in an eminent 
manner, and fo fuperfeded ordinary rules and human deftinations. 
On this account they confidered a prophet, though not of the fa- 
cerdotal family, as an extraordinary prieft, and entitled to offer 
facrifice, in confideration of the evidences he gave of his miffion. 
Thus the prophets Samuel, i Sam. vii. 9. and Elijah, 1 Kings 
xviii. 31. &c. neither of whom was a prieft, offered facrifice 
with acceptance and upon altars too not warranted by the law. 
It is evident that fome of thofe who gave the title of rabbi to 
our Saviour, were willing, either fmcerely or pretendedly, thus 
to account for their doing fo. Rahbi^ faid Nicodemus, a Phari- 
fee, and a member of the Sanhedrim, Johniii. i. &.c. we know 
that thou art a teacher come from God ; for no man can do thefe 
miracles that thou doft^ except God he with him. Here he, as it 
were, afTigns the reafon why he fainted him rabbi, although he 
knew that he had not been educated in human literature, and had 
not received from men any literary honours. The fame title was 
given him alfo by otliers of that fedl infidioufly, when, though 
they pretended friendfliip, their aim was to entangle him in his 
talk, that they might have a pretest for delivering him up to the 
Roman governor. In other cafes, they Ihew fufficiently how 
little thev were difpofed to admit his right to any degree of re- 
fpetl ariflng from knowledge. They faid, John vii. 15. How 
knowetb this man letters, having never learned ? A charge, the 
truth of which our Lord very readily admitted by replying. My 
doctrine is not mine, but his who fent me. 

§ 8. Now, from the foregoing obfervations, it appears that the 
name J»Sa:e-x«>.«,-, as being nearly equivalent in import to the ap- 
pellation rabhi^ fur which it has bean fubftituted by the Evange- 
lift, may be fitly expreffed, either by the Engliih term doSior^ or 
by the Syriac rabbi^ which is now fo much naturalized amongft 
us, that its meaning, as a Jewifh title of literary honour, can 
hardly be miftaken. In the addrefles made to our Lord in his 
lifetime, the Syriac term is furely preferable ; the Englifh word, 
though very appohte in refpe6l of its origin, and ordinary accep- 
tation, has confiderably funk in its value, in confequence of the 
flight manner wherein we are accuftomed to heai; it applied. But 
we all know that rabbi among the Jews of that age was a title 
in the highefl degree refpe6lful, and on that account interdifted 
by their Mailer, even to the apollles themfelves. It is alfo the 
word by which It^ajKotKii is commonly rendered in the Syriac 
verfion of the New Teltament, juilly held the mod refpeclablc 
of all the tranflations extant, as being both the oldell, and writ- 
ten in a language not materially different from that fpoken by 
our Lord and his apoflles. The difference appears not to be 
greater (if fo great) than that which we obferve between the At- 
tic and the Ionic dialeds in Greek. But when li^xTKuMiy is con- 



ftrued with other words, which either Jimit or appropriate it, we 
commonly judge it better to render it teacher^ according to the 
fimple and primitive lignification of the word. la fach cafes it 
is probable, that the writer alludes merely to what is ufuaily im- 
plied in the Greek, term. So much for the import of rabhi or 
J<J<««c«Ae; in the New Teftament. 

§ 9. Now, when we compare the titles kyrios and didafcalos 
together, in refpeft of the Jew'ilh ufe and application of them, 
we find feveral remarkable differences between them. From our 
modes of thinking, we fhould be apt to conclude, that the for- 
mer of thefe appellations would be much the more honourable of 
the two. Yet this is far from holding generally, though in par- 
ticular cafes, it no doubt does. In regard to the term kyrios, I 
obferved formerly, that, as it originally fignified tnajler, as oppo- 
fed X.Q fervant, it retained in that nation, in our Saviour's time, fo 
much of its primitive meaning, as to be always underftood to 
imply an acknowledged inferiority in the perfon who gave it, to 
him to whom it was given. Civility might lead a man to give 
it to his equal. But to give it to one who either in the order of 
nature, or by human conventions, was confidered as inferior and 
fubordinate, would have looked more like an infult than like a 
compliment. Hence it mull be regarded as a term purely rela- 
tive, which derived its value folely from the dignity of the per- 
fon who ferioufly bellowed it. To be entitled to this compella- 
tion from a monarch neither tributary nor dependent, denoted 
him who received it to be fuperior to human. But no ufeful ci- 
tizen was fo low as not to be entitled to this mark of refpedt from 
a common beggar. And, as its value in every inftance depended 
folely on the dignity of the giver, it might be either the mod ho- 
nourable title that could be conferred, or the moft infignificant. 
The ufe of the title rabbi, didafcalos, or dodlor, was, in this re- 
fpe£l, totally different. As it was underftood to exprefs not re- 
lation, but certain permanent qualifications in the perfon who re- 
ceived it, they did not confider it as a matter of courtefy, but aa 
a matter of right. It was not relative but abfolute. The fame 
perfon did not (as was the cafe of kyrios") confider hirafelf as 
obliged to give it to one, and entitled to receive it from another. 
Whoever had this literary degree conferred on him, was entitled 
to receive the honourable compellation equally from all perfons, 
fuperiors, inferiors, and equals. And we need not doubt that 
this vain- glorious race would brand with the ignominious cha- 
rafter of rufticity all who withheld it. 

^10. Hence we may difcover the reafon why our Lord, when 
warning his difciples (Matt, xxiii. 7. &:c.) againfl imitating the 
oftentation and prefumption of the Scribes and Pharifees in af- 
fefting to be denominated rabbi, father, guide, or condu6lor, does 
not once mention kyrios, though, of all titles of refpeft the moft 
^'^OL, I, LI common. 


common. It is manifeft that his view was not to prohibit them 
from giving or receiving the common marks of civility, but to 
check them from arrogating what might feem to imply a fupe- 
riority in wifdom and underftanding over others, and a title to 
diftate to their fellows, a fpecies of arrogance which appeared 
but too plainly in the Scribes and learned men of thofc days. 
As to the title kyrios^ he knew well that from their worldly fitu- 
ation and circumftances, which in this matter were the only rule, 
they could expeft it from none but thofe in the loweft ranks, 
who would as readily give it to an artifan or a peafant, and that 
therefore there could be no danger of vanity from this quarter. 
But the cafe was different with titles expreflive not of fleeting re- 
lations, but of thofe important qualifications which denote a fit- 
nefs for being the lights and conduftors of the human race. The 
title y^f^er, in the fpiritu?l or metaphoric fenfe, the moft refpe£l- 
ful of all, he prohibits his difciples from either affuming or gi- 
ving, chufing that it fliould be appropriated to God, and at the 
fame time claims the title of guide and fpiritual inftrudlor to him- 

§ II. Nor let it be imagined that the title ^i^onrKuMi, bellowed 
on the firft miniflers of the religion of Chrift, Hands in oppoii- 
tion to the admonitions here given The word, it muft be own- 
ed, is equivocal, but is every where eafily diftinguifned by the 
connexion ; for when it is applied to fuch as are literally em- 
ployed in teaching, it muft not be underftood as a complimental 
title anfwering to the Chaldaic word rabbu but as a name of of- 
fice correfponding to the Hebrew word "ID vD melammed, teacher^ 
preceptor. Befides, when applied even to the apoftlcs, it is to be 
underftood in a fubordinate fenfe. They are in like manner 
c^iWtdiffoepherds, but ftill in fubordinatlon to him who is the chief 
Shepherd, as well as the chief Teacher in his church. Chrift is 
called the only foundation ; for other foundation, fays Paul, l Cor. 
iii. II. can no man lay than that is laid, which is J ejus Chrijt. 
Yet the fame apoftle does not hefitate to reprefent the church, 
Eph. ii. 20. as huilt jon the foundation of the apojlles and prO' 
phets. Nor dbes he confider his ftyling himfelf the father of 
thofe in whofe converfion he had been inftrumental, as either in- 
compatible with, or derogatory from, the honour of him who 
alone is our Father, and who is in heaven. When his meaning 
is fo evident, no miftake can arife from the word. // is the Spi' 
rit that quickeneth, faid our Lord, Johnvi. 63. the flcfh profiteth 
nothing ; the words that I fpcak unto you, they are fpirit, and 
they are life. Now the fpirit of the precept is t-ranfgrefled, when 
his minifters claim an undue fuperiority over their Lord's heritage, 
arrogating to themfelves a dominion over the faith of his difci- 
ples ; and when, in confequcnce of an undue attachment to 
■worldly honours, or to the power' that is underftood to accom- 


pany thefe, men become felicitous of being diflinguifhed from 
their equals, either by external marks of homage, or by an im- 
plicit deference and fubmiffion in point of judgment. With this 
character Diotrephes, (3 John 9.) feems to have been charged, 
whom the apolHe John denominates (p-.Ai-xg^aiTi'ja'j, one who loves 
pre-eminence, a characler which, not many ages after, became 
too general in the church. 

§ 12. It was not, therefore, fo much the titles, as that fort of 
authority which was underflood, among the Jews, to be convey- 
ed under them, that was our Saviour's objeft in thofe admoni- 
tions. Indeed, a fondnefs for title, a folicitude about precedency, 
or an affectation of being dilHnguifhed by fuch outward marks 
of reverence, are e\'idently condemned by him as a kind of 
earthly ambition unbecoming the meeknefs and humility of his 
difciples, and that unremitted deference to the divine authority, 
which they ought ever to maintain. The praftice of the apo- 
llles, and indeed the whole tenor of the New Teftament, fupply 
us with this commentary on the v.ords. Whereas the cuftoma- 
ry marks of mere civil refpect, fo far from being condemned in 
Scripture, are always ufed by the infpired penmen themfeives, 
when there is a proper occafion of giving them. 

§ 13. So much for the import of the principal titles of honour 
which occur in the New Teftament, and the difference, in refpecl 
of application, between them and thofe commonly fuppofed to 
correfpond to them, amongfl us. 





It was obferved in a former Differtation *, that there are words 
in the language of every people, which are not capable of being 
tranflated into that of any other people who have not a perfeft 
conformity with them in thofe cuftoms or fentiments which have 
given rife to thofe words. The terms comprehended under this 
remark mzy be diftributed into three clafles. The firft is of 
weights, meafures, and coins ; the fccond of rites, fe£ts, and fef- 
tivals ; the third of drefs, judicatories, and offices. 


Weights J Meafures^ and Coins. 

x\s to the firft clafs, it is evident that there is nothing wherem 
nations, efpecially fuch as are diftant from one another in time 
and place, more frequently differ than in the "meafures and coins, 
which law or cuftom has eftabliflied among them. Under coins 
I fhall here include weights ; becaufe it was chiefly by weight 
that money was anciently diftinguifhed. As commonly every 
people has names only for their own, it is often neceffary, in the 
tranllation of ancient and foreign books, to adopt their peculiar 
names, and by mentioning in the margin the equivalent in our 
own money, meafures, and weights, to fupply the reader with the 
proper information. This method has accordingly been often, 
though not always, taken by the tranilators of holy writ. Into 
the common veilion of the Old Teflament, feveral oriental, and 
other foreign names have been admitted, which are explained irk 
the margin. Hence we hzve Jheiel, epbahy bath, homer^ cor, and 


* Diff.H. P.I. § 5- 


fbme others. This, however, (for what reafon I know not), has 
not been attempted in the New Tetiament. Inftead of it, one or 
other of thefe two methods has been taken ; either fome name 
of our own, fuppofed to be equivalent, or at lead not flridtlv 
confined, bv ufe, to a precife meaning, is adopted, fuch as pounds 
penny, farthings hujhcly firkin ; or (which is the only other me- 
thod ever ufed by our tranflators) fome general expreffion is em- 
ployed i as, a piece of moneys a piece of fiher^ tribute money^ a 
ineafure^ and the like. Thtfe are three ways, every one of which 
has fome advantages, and fome difadvantages, and is, in fome 
cafes, the mod eligible method, but not in others. 

One Monfieur le Cene, a French writer, who, in the end of the 
laft century, wrote what he called, A Proje£l for a new Tranfla- 
tion of the Bible into French, has recommended a fourth method, 
which is, to give in the verlion the cxadt value expreffed in the 
money, or meafures of the country into whofe language the ver- 
lion is made. The anonymous author of an ElTay, in Englifli, 
for a new tranflation, has adopted this idea ; or rather, without 
naming Le Cene, has turned into Englifh, and transferred to our 
ufe, all thofe remarks of the Frenchman, which he accounted ap- 
plicable to the Englifh verfion. This fourth method, though 
much approved by fome, on account of its fuppofed perfpicuity, 
is, in my judment, the word of them all, nor do I know a fmgle 
indance wherein I could fay that it ought to be adopted*. 

§ 2. But, before I enter on the difcuflion of thefe methods, it 
is proper here to premife, that as to meafures, the enquiry may 
well be confined to thofe called meafures of capacity. The 
fmaller length meafures have originally, in every country, been 
borrowed from fome of the proportions which take place in the 
human body. }ii&nc&inch,handbreadth,fpan^foot^cuhit. The 
larger meafures, pace, furlong, mile^ are but multiples of the lefs. 
Now, as there is not an exaft uniformity of meafure in the parts 
of individuals, it would naturally follow, that different nations 
would edablidi, for themfelves, dandard-meafures, not much dif- 
ferent from thofe of others, nor yet entirely the fame. And this 
is what, in fuch meafures, has actually happened. When any 
of them, therefore, is mentioned, we know the meafure nearly, 

* Till I read it lately in Dr Geddes' Profpe6lus, I did not know that 
Le Cene had publilhed a veifion of the Scriptures. The attentive reader 
will perceive that the criticifms which follow in relation to him, dc not 
refer to that tranflation, which I never faw, bat folely to his plan. If his 
verfion be confotmablc to his own rules, it is certainly a curiofily of its 
kind. But that cannot be ; oiherwife the learned Dodlor, though not 
profufe in its praife, would not, on fome points, have fpoken fo favourably 
as he has done. C luld he h^ve faid, for indance, that he is very ieldom 
bialTed by party piejudices ? If L& Cene was faultlefs on this article, much 
may be faid to exculpate Beza. Their parties were different, but their er- 
ror was the fame. See DilT. X. P. v. \ 13. 


but cannot know it accurately, till we are informed of what na- 
tion it is the inch, fpan, foot, cubit, &c. Tlie names have, by 
life, acquired a latitude and currency in thcfe different applica- 
tions. As to fuperficial meafure, we know it is reckoned no 
otherwife than by the fquare of the long meafure. Whereas, 
the cubical form, not anfwering fo well in practice to the men- 
Juration of folids, the ftandards for them have generally been 
fixed without any regard to meafures of length or furface. It is 
with thcfe alone therefore that we are here concerned. 

§ 3. Now, the beft way of determining our choice properly, 
amon^- the different methods of tranflating above mentioned, is 
by attending to- the fcope of the palTages wherein the mention of 
money and meafures is introduced. Firff, then, it fometimes 
happens that accuracy, in regard to the value of thefe, is of im- 
portance to the feale. Secondly, it fometimes happens, tliat the 
value of the coin, or the capacity of the meafure, is of no confe- 
queuce to the import of the pafl'age. Thirdly, it happens alfo, 
fometimes, that though the real value of the coin, or the capa- 
city of the meafure, does not affedl the fenle of the paffage, the 
comparative value of the different articles mentioned, is of fome 
moment for the better underftanding of what is faid. Let us 
confider what methods fuit beft the feveral cafes now mentioned. 

§ 4. Firft, I obferved, that accuracy, in regard to the value of 
the meafures or coins mentioned, is fometimes of importance to 
the fenfe. When this is the cafe, and when we have no word 
exadlly correfponding in import to the original term, that term 
ought to be retained in the verfion, and explained in the margin, 
according to the firft method taken notice of. An inftance, 
where the knowledge both of the capacity of the meafure and of 
the value of the coin, are eflential to the fenfe, we have, in that 
public cry, X<«k| (t-ith ^nva^m. Rev. vi. 6, which our tranflators ren- 
der, a meafure of wheat for a penny. It is evidently the intention 
of the writer to inform us of the rate of this neceffary article, as a 
charaSeriftic of the time whereof he is fpeaking. But our ver- 
lion not only gives no information on this head, but has not even 
the appearance of giving any, which the word chanix would have 
had, even to thofe who did not underftand it. But to fay a mea- 
fure, without faying what meafure, is to fay juft nothing at all. 
The word penny., here, is alfo exceptionable, being ufed indefi- 
nitely, infomuch that the amount of the declaration is, a certain 
quantity of wheat fot a certain quantity of money. This fug- 
gefts no idea of either dearth or plenty ; and can be charafterift- 
ical of no time, as it holds equally of every time. In this cafe, 
the original term, notwthftanding its harfhnefs, ought to be re- 
tained in the text, and explained in the margin. Again, it was, 
doubrlefs, the intention of the facred penman, to acquaint us at 
how low a price our Saviour was fold by his treacherous dif- 



ciple, when he informs us, Mat. xxvi. 15. that the chief priefts 
agreed to give Judas Trixxarx u^yj^ix. In like manner, when the 
Evangelift mentioned, Johnxii. 5. the indignant obfervation of 
Judas, that the ointment, wherewith our Lord's feet were anoint- 
ed, might have been fold for more than Tg<«jc«c-i&'v l»iv^^i»», it was, 
doubtlefs, his view to acqaint us with the value of the gitt. 
Once more, when Philip remarked to our Lord, who had pro- 
pofed to feed the multitude in the defert, John vi. 7. 2tuK0'7ti/i o/r.x- 
etui x^oi, two hundred pennyworth of hrtad, as it runs in the com- 
mon verfion, is not Jnff.dent for them^ that every one of them may 
take a little, it was the delign of the hiftorian to fupplj us witii 
a kind of criterion for computing the number of the people pre- 
fent. But this could be no criterion, unltfs we knew the value 
of the ^ijj'sfgioi- 

§ 5. ' Bur,' fay thofe modern correclors, ' in the examples 
' above mentioned, when the knowledge of the value of the coin, 

* and the capacity of the meafure, is of importance to the fer;fe, 
' no method can be equal, in point of perfpicuity, to that recom- 

* mended by us, whereby both are reduced to an equivalent in 
' the monies and meafures of the country. Thus, the fiiR pal- 

* fage quoted would be rendered, A meajure of ivhtat capThld of 
^ fupporting a man for one day,'' lor thus Le Cene 
tranflate %6(v<|, *• for ftven pence halfpenny. The fecond, The 

* chief priefti covenanted with fudas for three pounds fftetufjil- 
' lings flerling. The third. Why was not this ointment fold for 
' nine pounds fven flM'ings and fix pence ? And the fourth. Six 
^ pounds fve /hillings would not purchafe bread fuffi.cient.'' 

The exceptions againft this method are many. In the firfr 
place, it is a mere comment, and no tranilation. Conlidered as 
a comment, it may be good ; but that mull be egregiouily wrong 
as a verfion, which reprefents an author as fpeaking of what he 
knew nothing about, nay, of what had no exillence in his time. 
And fuch, furelv, is the cafe with our fterling money, v/hich an 
interpretation of this fort would reprefent as the current coin 
of Judea in the time of our Saviour. Nothing ought to be in- 
troduced by the tranflator, from which the Englilh reader may 
fairly deduce a falfe conclufion, in regard to the manners and 
cuftoms of the time. Befides, as the comparative value of their 
money and meafures with ours is not founded on the cleareft 
evidence, is it proper to give a quefnonable point the far.fiion, 
as it were, of infplration ? Add to all this, that no method can be 
devifed, which would more efFeftually than this deftroy the na- 
tive fimplicity and energy of the exprefiion. What is exprefled 
in round numbers, in the original, is, with an abfurd minutcnefs, 
reduced to fractions in the verfion. Nothing can be mere natu- 
ral than the exprefiion. Two hundred dcnarv. would not purchafe 
bread enough to afford every one of them a little. This is fpo- 



ken like one who makes a fhrevvd guefs from what he fees. 
Whereas, nothing can be more unnatural than, in fuch a cafe, to 
defcend to fraftional parts, and fay. Six pounds Jive Jhillings would 
not purcbafe. This is what nobody would have faid, that had 
not previoufly made the computation. Juft fo, the round fum of 
three hundred denarii might very naturally be conjeclured by 
one prefent, to be about the value of the ointment. But, for 
one to go fo nearly to work as to fay, Nine pounds /even Jhillings 
and fix pence might have been gotten for this liquor, would direct- 
ly fuggeft to the hearers, that he had weighed it, and computed its 
value at fo much a pound. There is this additional abfurdity in the 
laft example, that it is faid, is-«s»», more than : confequently, it is 
mentioned, not as the exaft account, but as a plaufible conjcfture, 
rather under than above the price. But does any body, in con- 
jedures of this kind, acknowledged to be conjeftures, defcend to 
fradional parts ? 

§ 6. Now, if this method would fucceed fo ill in the firfl of 
the three cafes mentioned, it will be found to anfwer flill worfe 
in the other two, where little depends on the knowledge of the 
value. In the fecond, I may fay, nothing depends on it. Now, 
there are feveral paffages, v/hereia coins and meafures are men- 
tioned, in which the value of the coin, or the capacity of the 
meafure, is of no conceivable confequence to the import of the 
palTage. In this cafe, either the fecond or the third method, 
above fpecified, is preferable to the introdu£lion of a foreign 
term, not ufed in other places of the verfion, and noway necelTai-y 
to the fenfe. But let it be obferved of the fecond method, that 
I am never for ufing fuch names of coins and meafures as are 
peculiarly modern or European, and fiot applied to the money 
and meafures of ancient and Oriental countries : for fuch terms 
always fuggeft the notion of a coincidence with us, in things 
wherein there was actually no coincidence. 

We read in the common verfion, Matth. v. 13. Neither do men 
light a candle and put it under a bujljel^ vwe t«» fitiiov, but on a can- 
dleftick. Every perfon muft be fenfible, that the fize of the 
meafure is of no confequence here to the fenfe : the intention be- 
ing folely to fignify, that a light is brought, not to be covered up, 
but to be placed where it may be of ufe in lighting the houfe- 
hold. The general term corn meafure, perfe6tly anfwers the 
author's purpofe in this place ; and as nowhere, but in the ex- 
preflion of this very fentiment, does the word jttoJje; occur in the 
Gofpels, there is no reafon for adopting it. The term hufhel 
ferves well enough for conveying the import of the fentiment ; 
but as it indire£tly fuggefts an untruth, namely, the ancient ufe 
of tliat meafure in Judea, it is evidently improper. For an ex- 
ample in money, our Lord fays, when the Pharifees interrogated 
him about the lawfulnefs of paying the tribute impofed by their 



conquerors, Luke xs. 24. Etti^uIxti f^oi d^ya^iet, rendered in the 
common \ct{io.\,Jhoiv me a penny^ the I'equel eviiices that it was 
of no importance what the value of the money was ; the crgu- 
ment is afFedled lolely bv the figure and infcription on it. And, 
if in no other place of the Gofpcls the value of that coin ha-; af- 
fected the fenfe more than it does here, it might have been ren- 
dered by the general phrafe piece of money. Now let us fee how 
Le Gene's method does with thofe two examples. In the firft he 
would fay, Neither do men light a candle to put tt under a mea~ 
fare which contains about a pint lefs than a peck. Or, according 
to the manner which he fometimes adopts, containing fuch a pre- 
cife number of eggs (I do not recolleCl how many) ; would not 
this particularity in fixing the capacity of the meafure, but too 
manifeflly convey the infmuation that there would be nothing 
ftrange or improper in men's putting a lighted candle under any- 
other meafure larger or fmaller than that whereof the capacity 
is, as a matter of principal moment, fo nicely afcertained ? A 
ftrange way this of rendering Scripture perfpicuous I 

Nor does it anfwer bett^ in coins than in meafures. When 
our Lord faid, 'LTr^'hazxTi ftotdoxe^iov, the very words imply that it 
was a lingle piece he wanted to fee ; and what follows lupplies 
us with the reafon. But how does this fuit Le Cene''s mode of 
reduction ? Show me /even pence halfpenny. Have we any fuch 
piece ? The very demand muft, to an Englifh reader, appear 
capricious, and the money alked could not be prefented otherwife 
than in different pieces, if not in different kinds. It is added, 
Wbofe image and fuperfcription hath it ? Is this a queftion y-r.^ch 
any man would put, Whofe image and fuperfcription bath feven 
pence halfpenny ? * But there may have been formerl/ feven 
^ pence halfpenny pieces^ though we have none now.' Be it fo. 
Still, as it is unfuitable to have the head and infcription of "a 
Roman emperor on what muft, from the denomination, be un- 
derftood to be Britilli coin, they ought, for the fake of confiften- 
cy* and for making the transformation of the money complete, 
to render the reply to the aforefaid queftion, George''s inftead of 
Cejar^s. If this be not tranflating into Englifti, it is perhaps fu- 
perior ; it is what fome moderns call, Englijhiug, making En- 
glijh, or doing into Englifb ; for all thefe expreflions are ufed. 
Poems done in thib mannea are fometimes more humbly termed 

§7.1 obferved a third cafe that occurs in the Gofpels with 
refpect to money and meafure, which is when the value of the 
coin, or the capacity of the meafure mentioned, does not, but 
the comparative value of the articles fpecificd, does, affeiSt the 
fenfe. Of this kind fome of our Lord's parables furnilh us with 
exceiknt examples. Such is the parable of the pounds, Luke 
xix. 13, &.C. I ftiall here give as much of it as is necelTary for 

Vol. I. M m my 


my prefent purpofe, firft in the vulgar tranflation, then in Le 
Cene''s manner. 13. He called his ten fervants, and delivered 
them ten pounds, and /aid unto them^ Occupy till 1 come. 1 6. 
The firjl came, faying. Lord, thy pound hath gained ten pounds^ 
and he [aid unto hiT., Well^ thou good fervant : hecaufe thou haft 
been faithful in a very little, have thou authority over ten cities. 
And the fecond came., faying., Lord, thy pound hath gained fve 
pounds. And he faid likewi/e to him. Be thoualfo over five cities. 
Nothing can bs more manifeft than that it is of no confequence 
to the meaniiig and defign of this brief narration, what the value 
of the pound was, great or little. Let it fuffice that it here re- 
prefents the whole of what we receive from our Creator to he 
laid out in his fervice. In the accounts returned by the fervants, 
we fee the different improvements which different men make of 
the gifts of heaven ; and in the recompences bellowed, we have 
their proportional rewards. But thefe depend entirely on the 
numbers mentioned, and are the lame, whatever be the value of 
the money. I fliall now, in reducing them to our ftandard, fol- 
low the rates affigned on the margij| of the Englifh Bible. Du- 
cats, fo often mentioned by Le Cene, are no better known to the 
generality of our people than talents or minse are. Whether 
the rate of converfion I have adopted be juil: or not, is of no 
confequence. I fhall therefore take it for granted that it is juft. 
The different opinions of the comparative value of their money 
and ours, nowife affeft the argument. The objeftions are againft 
the reduftion from the one fpecies to the other, not againft the 
rule of reducing. 

The foregoing verfes fo rendered will run thus : He called his 

ten fervants, and delivered them thirty one pounds five fkillings 

fierling, and faid. Occupy till I come. The firfi came, faying. 

Lord, thy three pounds two Jhilhngs and fixpence, have gained 

thirty -one pounds five fhillings ; and he faid to him. Well, thou 

good fervant, becaufe thou hafi heen faithful in a very little, have 

thou authority over ten cities. And the fecond came, faying. 

Lord, thy three pounds two fhillings and fixpence, have gained 

fifteen bounds twelve fhillings and fixpence. And he faid likewife 

to him. Be thou alfo over five cities. In regard to the parable of 

the talents. Matt. xxv. 14. it is needlefs, after the fpecimen now 

given, to be particular. I (hall therefore give only part of one 

verfe thus expreffed in the common verfion. To one he gave five 

talents, to anothtr two, and to another one y which, in Le Cene^s 

manner, would be, To one he gave nine hundred thirtyfeven 

pounds ten fijillings fierling. To another three hundred feventy- 

five pounds. And to another one hundred eighty-feven pounds ten 

Jhillings. In both examples, what is of i^eal inxportance, the 

comparative degrees of improvement and proportional rewards, 

which in the original, and in the common verlion, are difcover- 


ed at a glance, are, if not loft, fo much obfcured by the compli- 
cated terms employed in the verGon, that it requires an arithme- 
tical operation to difcover them. In the exan>ple of the king 
who called his fervants to account. Matt, xviii. 23. this manner 
is, if poflible, ftill more awk-ward, by reafoa of the largenefs of 
the fums. One of th.-i;i is reprefented as owing to the king one 
million eight hundred feventy-five thoufand pounds, and his fel- 
low- fervant as indebted to him three pounds two (hillings and 
fixpence. There is fome importance in the comparative value 
of the denarius and the talent, as it appears evideiuly cne purpcfc 
of our Lord in this parable, to Ihow how iiiiigniricant the greateft 
claims we can make on our fellow- creatures are, compared with 
thofe which divine juftice can make on us. And though this be 
flrongly marked when the two fums are reduced to one denomi- 
nation, this advantage does not counterbalance the badnefs of the 
expreffion fo grofsly unnatural, unfcriptura], and, in every, 
improper. In conveying religious and moral inftruclion, to em- 
barrafs a reader or hearer with fractions and complex numbers, 
is in a fpirit and manner completely the reverfe of our Lord's. 

^ 8. I will not further try the patience of my readers v.'ith 
what has been propofed in the fame tade, with refpe£t to the 
meafures, both liquid and dry, mentioned in Scripture, in the ex- 
hibition of their refpective capacities by the number of eggs 
they could contain. I am afraid I have defcended into too many 
particulars already, and fliall therefore only add in general that, 
in this way, the beautiful and perfpicuous fimplicity of holy 
writ, is exchanged for a frivolous minutenefs, which defcends to 
the loweft denomination of parts, more in the ftyle of a penu- 
rious money-broker, than in that of a judicious mcralift, no' to 
fay, a divine teacher. Perfpicuity is therefore injured, not pro- 
moted by it, and to thofe important lelTons, an appearance, or ra- 
ther a difguife, is given, which feems calculated to ruin their ef- 
fect. That author has never reflecied on what I think fufficient- 
ly obvious, that when a piece of money is named, the name is un- 
derftood to denote fomething more than the weight of the filver 
or the gold. In the earlieft ages, when it was only by weight 
that the money of the fame metal w-as diilinguillied, if the weight 
was the fame, or nearly fo, the names ufed in different languages 
ferved equally well. It was therefore both natural and proper 
in the Seventy to renda- the Hebrew "H^D checber^ in Greek 
T«A«»Tfl», and ip^ Jhekel, ^i^^ct-x/ia. For the Alexandrian }to^:i-^x, 
which was double the Attic referred to in the New Teftauient, 
was half an ounce. But though fuch term.s might, with propri- 
ety, be ufed promifcuoufly, when the different denominations of 
money exprelTed folely their different weights, as was the cafe 
in the earlier ages of the Jewifh commonwealth, it is not fo now. 
The name fignifies a coin of a particular form and fize, ftamp 



and infcrtption. The Hebrew Jhekel, the Greek Jlater, and the 
Britifh half crown, being each about half an ounce of filver, are 
nearly equivalent. But the names are not fynonjmous. If one 
had promifed to fliow vou ^Jlater, ex a Jl.iekel^ would you think 
he had difcharged his promile by producing half-a crown ? 

\ 9. Words therefore which are by ufe exclitfively appropri- 
ated to the coins and meafures of modern nations, can never be 
ufed with propriety in the tranflation of an ancient author. I 
have mentioned three ways which a tranflator rnay take, and 
pointed out the different circumftances by which the preference 
among thofe methods may, in any inftance, be determined. 
Whpii the fenfe of the paiTage does, in any degree, depend on 
the value of the coin, or the capacity of the meafure, the original 
term ought to be retained, and if needful, explained in a note. 
This is the way conftantly ufed in the tranflation of books where 
mention is made of foreign coins or meafures. What is more 
common than to find mention made in fuch works of Dutch guil- 
der i, French livres, or Portugucfe moidores ? I acknowledge, at 
the fame time, the inconveniency of loading a verfion of Scrip- 
ture with ftrange and uncouth names. But ftill this is preferable 
to expreflions which, how fmooth foever they be, do, in any re- 
fpeft, mifreprefent the author, and miflead the reader. Our ears 
are accuftomed to the foreign names which are found in the com- 
mon verfion of the Old Teflament, fuch as Jlyekel, hath, ephah : 
thou,i;;h Vvhere the fame coins and meafures are evidently fpokcn 
of in the New, our tranflators have not liked to introduce them, 
and have fometimes, lefs properly, emploj ed modern names 
which do not correfpond in meaning. 

§ 10. We have, befides, in the New Teflament, the names of 
fome Greek and Roman coins and meafures not mentioned in the 
Old. Now, where the words are the fam'', or in common ufe 
coincident with thofe ufed by the Seventy in tranflating the He- 
brew names above mentioned, I have thought it better to retain 
the Hebrew words, to which our ears are familiarized by the 
tranflation of the Old, than to adopt new terms for exprefiJmg 
the fame things. We ought not furely to make an apparent 
difference by means of the language, where we have reafon to 
believe that the things meant were the fame. When the word, 
therefore- in the New Teftament, is the name of either meafure 
or coin peculiar to Greeks or Romans,*it ought to be retained ; 
but when it is merely the term b}' which a Hebrew word oc- 
curring in the Old Teflament, has fomeiimes been rendered by 
the Seventy ; the Hebrew name, to which the common verfion 
of the Old Teflament has accuftomed us, ought to be preferred. 
For this reafon I have, in fuch cafes, employed them in the ver- 
fion of the Gofpels. A^yv^iev I have rendered Jljckel, when ufed 
for money. This was the flandard coin of the Jews ; and when 



the Hebrew word for ftlver occurs in a plural Signification, as 
muft be the cafe wlien joined with a numeral adjeftive, it is evi- 
dentlv this that is meant. It is commonly in the Septuagint 
rendered ct^yv^iu, and in one place in the common tranfl-ition, y^/- 
verlings^ Ifa. vii. 23. In Hebrew "IDD chefeph and 7pC£^ (hfk !^ 
are oiten ufed indifcriminatelj, and both are fometimes rendered 
by the lame Greek word. Though talent is not a word of He- 
brew extra£lion, the Greek TatAaevrov is fo conftantly e:nployed by 
the Seventy in rendering the Hebrew "1^3 checker^ and is fo 
perfectlv familiar to us, as the name of an ancient Coin of the 
highell value, that there can be no doubt of the propriety of re- 
taining it. As to the word pounds in Greek f-vas, and m rle- 
brew n^D maneh^ as the fenfe of the only paffjge wherein it 
occurs in tlie Gofpel, could hardly, in any degree, be faid to de- 
pend on the value of the coin mentioned, I have alfo thought 
proper to retain the name which had been employed by the En- 
glifh tranflators. Though pound is the name of a particular de- 
nomination of our own money, we all know that it admir: I'fo 
an indefinite application to that of other nations. This is fo 
well underftood, that where there is any rifli of miflaking, we 
diftinguifh our own by the addition of sterling. The Greek 
word and the Englifh are alfo analogous in this refpeft, that they 
are names both of money and of v/eight. Both alfo admit lome 
latitude, in the application to the monies and weights of different 
countries, whofe itandards do not entirely coincide. 

In regard to fome other v.ords, though penny is cfcen ufed in- 
definite! sr, the common meaning differs fo much from thru of 
J/ij^ff/ev in Scripture, and the plural pence is fo rarely ufed with 
that latitude, that I thought it better to retain the Latin wor.i. 
1 have referved the word ptnny as a more proper tranilation of 
X'7c-u^ioy, between which and a penny /ierling, the difference in va- 
lue is inconfiderable. This naturally determined me to render 
x6^^etvT/,u farthing ; for y.^3oi.y\t,%-, (that is, quadrans^ is originally 
a Latin word as well as hm^uv. They cot-refpond in etjryiology 
as well as in value. Bv this I have avoided a double impropri- 
ety into which our tranfiators have fallen. Firft, by rendering 
^vtyct^iot, a penny, and uc-s-c^tov, a farthing, they make us conilcer 
the latter as a fourth part of the former, i^hereas it was bt'.r oiie- 
tenth. Again, by rendering ct<r<rcc^uy and K«^^«>r?ij by the fame word, 
they reprefent thofe names as f/nonymous which belonw to coins 
of very different value. In tranflating >.i7rrtv, I have retaiiicd the 
word mite, which is become proverbial for the loweft denomina- 
tion of money. 

§ II. As to meafures, wherever the knowledge of the capaci- 
ty was of no ufe for throwing light on the pafTage, I have judged 
it always fufficient to employ fome general term, as meajure, 
barrel, &c. Of this kind is the parable of the unjuft lleward. 



The degree of his villany is fnfficiently difcovered by the num- 
bers. Bat where it is the exprefs view of the writer to commu- 
nicate fome notion of the fize and capacity, as in the account 
given of the water pots at the marriage in Cana, or wherever 
fuch knowledge is of importance to the fenfe, thofe general words 
ought not to be ufed. Such are the reafons for the manner 
which I have adopted in this work, in regard to money and mea- 
fures. -There is no rule that can be followed, which is not at- 
tended with fome inconveniencies. Whether the plan here laid 
down be attended with the feweft, the judicious and candid reader 
will judge. 

Rites, Fejtivals, and SeQs. 

JL HE fecond clafs of words to which it is not always poflible to 
find in ano'her language, equivalent terms, is the names of rites, 
feftivais, and feels, religious, political, or philofophical. Of all 
words thp names of feds come the neareft to the condition of 
proper names, and are almoft always confidered as not admitting 
a tranflation into the language of thofe who are unacquainted 
with the feft. This holds equally of modern, as of ancient feels. 
There are no words in other languages anfwering to the Englifh 
terms whig and tory, or to the names of the Italian and German 
pavties called puelph and ghibeiin. it is exadly the fame with 
ph iofophical fetis, as magian^ JIo'c, peripatetic^ epicurean; and 
With Uie rei;g.ousfects among the Jews, pharifee^ fadducee^ ^'Jf^'^e^ 
karaile. Yet even this rule is not without exception. When 
the fe6t i.u been denominated frcT. feme common epithet or ap- 
pellative t/ii : -ht to b'? particularly applicable to the party, the 
trarflation of u. . .T>lthet o< ap; '.llative, ferves in other languages 
as a name to the feet. Thus thofe w'wo are called by the Greeks 
Tt«-5-«§£r5i«.'S£«iiT<T««, from their celebrating Eafter on the fourteenth 
day of the month, were, by the Romans, called quart adecimani, 
which is a tranflation or the word into Latin. In like manner 
our quakers are calleci in French tremblevrs. Yet in this their 
authors are not uniform, they fometlmes adopt the Englifh word. 
In regard to the fefts mentioned in the New Teftament, I do not 
know that there hcs bren any difference among tranflators. The 
ancient names feem to be adopted by all. 

§ 2. As to rites and feftivals, which, being ncr.rly rcisted, may- 
be confidered together, the cafe is fomewhat different. Tlic ori- 


frinal word, when expreffive of the principal a6i:ion in the rite, or 
in the celebration of the felfival, is I'ometimes tranflated and 
fometimes retained. In thefe it ib proper to follow the ufage of 
the language, even although the dillintlions made may original- 
ly have been capricious. In feveral modern languages we have, 
in v^hat regards Jewifh and Chriltiaa rites, generally followed 
the ufage of the Old Latin verfion, though the authors of that 
verfion have not been entirely uniform in their method. Some 
words they have trarisferred fiom the original into their language, 
others they have tr?.nflated. But it would not always be eafy to 
find their reafon for making this difierence. Thus the word 
■nie^nofiyt they have tranflated circumci/io^ which exaftly correfponds 
in etymology ; but the word fixTrrta-fAo, they have retained, chan- 
ging only the letters from Greek ro Roman. Yet the latter was 
juft as fufceptible of a literal verhon into Latin as the former. 
Immerjlo, tinEtlo^ anfwers as exaftly in the one cafe, as circumci- 
Jio in the other. And if it be faid of thofe words, that they do 
not reft on claffical authority, the fame is true aifo of this. Ety- 
mology, and the ufage of eccleilaflic authors, are all that can be 

Now, the ufe v/ith refpe£l to the names adopted in the Vul- 
gate, has commonly been imitated, or rather implicitly follow- 
ed, through the weiiern parts of Europe. We have deferted the 
Greek names where the Latins have deferted them, and have 
adopted them where the Latins have adopted them. Hence we 
fay circu/ncifion, and not peritomy ; and we do not fay imtnerjion^ 
but baptifm. Yet when the language furniflies us with mate- 
rials for a verfion fo exaft and analogical, fuch a verfion conveys 
the fenfe more perfpicuoufly than a foreign name. For this rea- 
fon, I fhould think the word iiiwierjion (which, though of Latin 
origin, is an Englifli noun, regularly formed from the verb to 
immerfe), a better Englilh name than baptifm, were we now at 
liberty to make a choice. But we are not. The latter term has 
been introduced, and has obtained the univerfal fuffrage ; and 
though to us not fo expreffive of the aftion ; yet, as it conveys 
nothing falfe, or unfuitable to the primitive idea, it has acquired 
a right by prefcription, and is confequently entitled to the prefe- 

§ 3. I faid that in the names of rites or facred ceremonies, we 
have commonly followed the Vulgate. In fome inftances, how- 
ever, we have not. The great Jewilh ceremony, in commemo- 
ration of their deliverance from Egypt, is called in the New 
Teftament ^ras-;^^, the facred penmen having adopted the term 
that had been ufed by the Seventy, wliich is not a Greek word, 
but the Hebrew, or rather the Chaldaic, name in Greek letters. 
The Vulgate has retained pafchc, transferring it into the Latin 
•hara6ler. The words in Greek and Latin have no meaning but 


28o !• R E L I IM I N A R y 

as the name of this rite. In Englifh the word has not been 
transferred, but tranflated pajfover, anfvvering in our language to 
the import «f the original Hebrew. l^y-n^oTtriyicc, fcenopegia^ln the 
Gofpel of John, ch. vii. 2. is retained by the Vulgate, and with 
xxi iXAvA^Xt^ the feajl of tabernacles. It would have been ftill 
nearer the original Hebrew, and more conformable to the Jewifh 
practice, to have called it the feaji of booths. But the other ap- 
pellation has obtained the preference. The Latins have retained 
the Greek name a%ymay which we render, properly enough, un- 
leavened bread. But the words jubilee, fabbatb^ purim^ and 
fome others, run through moft languages. 

§ 4. There is a conveniency in tranflating, rather than tranf- 
planting, the original term, if the word chofen be appofite, as it 
more clearly conveys the import, than an exotic word, that has 
no original meaning or etymology in the language. This appears 
never in a llronger light than when the reafon of the name hap- 
pens to be afligned by the facred author. I fhall give, for in- 
itance, that Hebrew appellative, which I but juft now obferved, 
that both the Seventy and the Vulgate have retained in their 
verfions, and which the Engliih interpreters have tranflated. 
The word is, pafcha., puffover. In the explanation which the 
people are commanded to give of this fervice to their children, 
when thev lliall enquire concerning it, the reafon of he name is 
affio^ned, Exod. xii. 27. I'e JJjall fay^ It is the facrifice of the 
Lord''i PASSOVER, who PASSED OVER the houfes of the children 
of Ifrael in Egypt, when he fmote the Egyptians. Now, this 
reafon appears as clearly in the Englifli verfion, which is literal, 
as in the original Hebrew ; but it is loft in the verfion of the Se- 
venty, who render it thus : E^tm. Qvfix re IIASXA ruTo Kv^m, &ij 
EZKEriASE TS? cty-m tuv viuv la-^civiX v> AtyvTrru, vivixx iTXTU^iTHi AiyvTr- 
T(K5. Here, as the words Traax,'^ and {5-x£7r«« have no affinity, it is 
impoffible to difcovcr the reafon of the name. The authors of 
the Vulgate, who form the word phafe, in the Old Teftament, 
more clofely after the Hebrew (though they call it pafcha in tlie 
New), have thought proper, in turning that paffage, to drop the 
name they had adopted, and tranflate the worri tranfitus^ that the 
allufion might net be loft. " Dicetis, viftima tkansitus Do- 
" mini eft, quando tkansivit fuper domos filioium Ifrael in 
" ^gypto, percutiens i^gyptios." 

This manner is fometimes neceflary, for giving a juft notion 
of the fenfe. But it is ftill better when the ufual name, in the 
language of the verfion, as happens in the Englifli, preferves the 
analogy, an.l renders the change uimeceflary. In proper names, 
it is generally impoflTible to preferve the allufion in a verfion. In 
fuch cafes, the natural refource is the margin. Tlie occafion is 
not fo frequent in appellatives, but it occurs fometimes. It is 
faid bv Adam of the woman, Gen. ii. 23. foon after her forma- 


tion, She JJjuIl be :nlled woman, becaufe Jhe uas formtd out of 
MAX. Here the affinity of the names, woman a:id man, 15 pre- 
ferved without doing violence to the language. But in iome ver- 
fions, the affinity difappears altogether, and, in otliers, is elTcclecl 
by^afligning a name which, if it maybe ufed at all, cannot, witii 
propriety, be given to the fex in general. It is loft in the Sep 

tuagint. "Avto x.Xr^A'^iia.i TTNH, tm ix. t» ANAPOS «i>t>I5 £A>i?S*j avrr,. 

Not the ftiadow of a realon appears in what is here affigned as 
the reafon. The founds yuvs) and aevS^a? have no aiBiuty. The 
fame may be faid of muUer and inr in Calta'io's Lat'ii. Hcec 
vocahitur MUlIER, quia fumpta de viRO est. Other Latin inter- 
preters have, for the fake of that relemblance in the words, on 
which the meaning of the exprefiion depends, chofen to iacrince 
a little of their latinity. The Vulgate, and Lee de Juda, have, 
Hac vocabitur viraGO, quia fumpta de VIKO est. Junius, Le 
Clerc and Houbigant, ufe the word vira., upon the authority of 
Feftus. Neither of the words is good in this application ; but 
not worfe than «>5§ij i% «s5^»5, ufed by Symmachus for the fan:;e 
purpofe. Much in the fame tafte are Luther's mxnnin, the ho- 
inaffe of the Genevah French, and the brsonia of Diodati's Ita- 

Drefy^j'udicatories^ and Offices. 

JL SHALL now proceed to the third jrentral clafs of words, not 
capable of being tranflated, with exai^nefs, into the language of 
a people whofe cuftoms are not in a great meafure conforcr:able 
to the cuftoms of thofe amongft v/hom fuch words iiave ariferi. 
This clafs comprehends names relating to drefs, peculiar mode?, 
judicatories, and offices. In regzvato gcirnii:r:ts, it is well known 
that the ufages of the ancients, particularly the Orientals, differ- 
ed confiderably from thofe of modern Europeans. And though 
I am by no means of opinion, that it is neceflary, in a tranfla- 
tion, to convey an idea of the exa£l form of their drefs, when 
nothing in the piece tranflated appears to depend on that circum- 
ftance, I am ever for avoiding that which would pofitively con- 
vey a falfe notion in this or any other refpecl. Often, from that 
which may be thought a trivial deviation from truth, there will 
refult inconveniences, of which one at firft is not aware, but 
which, neverthelefs, may produce in the mind of the attentive 
reader, unacquainted with the original, objeclions that affed the 
Vol. I. N n credibility 



credibility of the narration. A general name, therefore, like 
clothes^ raiment, is fufficient, when nothing depends on the form, 
in like mariner as a piece of moneys a corn meafure, will anfvver, 
when no light for underftanding the fcope of the place, can be 
derived from the value of the one or the capacity of the other. 
Where fome diftinftion, however, feems to liave been intended in 
the pafTage, there is a necedity for ufing names more definitive. 
It is not often neccfiary, for naming the parts of dref?, to retain 
the terms of a dead language. The Englifh tranflators have ne- 
ver done it, as far as 1 remember, except in naming that part of 
the facerdotal veftments, caJlcd the ephod^ for which it would be 
impoffible to find an appofire term in any European tongue. 
Phyla&eries^ too, will per'iiaps be accounted an exception. 

§ 2. But, though it is rarely neceffary to adopt the ancient or 
foreign names of garments, it may not be always proper to em- 
ploy thofe terms for expreffiag them, which are appropriated to 
particular pieces of the modern European habit. The word coat 
anfwers well enough as a name for the under garment, in Greek 
yjra:: Cloal'^ by whicli our tranfl^^.tors in the New Teftament 
commonly render iuuTiot, the name for the upper garment, I do 
not fo much approve. My reafons are thefe : Firfl, cioai is not 
the term that they have ufed in the Old TeftamePit for that veft- 
ment J though we have no reafon to believe thdt there was any 
change in the Jewilli fa{hioiis in this particular. It is well known 
that the modes, refpecling drei", are not, nor ever were, in 
Afia, as at prefent they are in Europe, variable and fiucluating. 
The Orientals are as remarkable for conftancy in this particular, 
as we sr.e for the contrary. Now, though the Hebrew words, 
anfwering to ifMncv, are frequent in the Old Teftament, and the 
Greek word itfelf in the tranflation of the Seventy, the word 
c/oai has never been admitted by our tranflitors into the verfion 
of the Old Teftament, except once in Ilaiah, ch. lix. 17. where 
it is ufed only as a fimile. Wherever they have thought proper 
to diftinguifh the upper garment from that worn clofe to the 
body, they have named it the mantle. See the places marked in 
the margin *. But thefe are not all the places in which the ori- 
ginal word might have been fo rendered. Sometimes, indeed, it 
means garments in general, and in tlie plural efpecially fignifics 
clothes. Now, though the difference of a name employed in the 
verfion of the Old Teftament may be thought too flight a circum- 
ftance for founding an argument upon, in regard to the manner 
of tranflating the New,' 1 cannot help thinking that, even if the 
words mantle and c'onk were equall}- proper, we ought not, by 
an unneceflary change, without any reafon, to give ground to 


* Judges iv. iS, I Sam. xxviii. T4. i Kirgs xix. 13. 19. 1 Kings ii. S- 
13, 14. tzia IX. 3. 5. Job Job li. n, Plaim c:.\. 23/. 


imagine, that there had been, in this article, any alteration in the 
Jewiih cuftoms. 

Secondly, I am the more av&rfe to introduce, in the New Tef- 
tament, a change of the name that had been ufed in the Old, as 
it is evident that, in Judta, they placed fome ftiare of religion in 
retaining their ancient garb. They did not think themfelves at 
liberty to depart from the cuftoms of their ^.nceltors in this point. 
As their law had regulated fome particulars in relation to their 
liable, they looked upon the form as intended for diftiuguifliing 
ihem from the heathen, and confequently as facred, Numb. xv. 
38, 39. Deut. xxii. 12. ; the knots of firings which they were 
appointed to put upon the four corners or wings, as they called 
them, did not fuit any other form of outer garment, than that to 
which they had been always accuftomed. 

Thirdly, the word mantle comes nearer a juR reprefentatioa of 
the loofe veilure worn by the Hebrews, than cloak^ cr any olher 
term, which refers us to fomething particular in the make. 
Whereas their liixnov was an oblong piece of cloth, fquare at the 
corners, in fhape refembling more the plaid of a Scotch High- 
lander, than either the Greek pallium or the Roman toga. This 
mantle, it would appear, on ordinary occaftons, they threw ioofe- 
ly about them : and, when employed in any fort of v/ork in 
which it might encu^aber them, laid afide altogether. To this, 
doubtlefs, our Lord refers in that expreflion, Mark xjii. 16. Let 
not him who Jhall be in the field., return home to fetch his mantle. 
When fetting out on a journey, or entering on any bufinefs, com- 
patible with the ufe of this garment, they tucked it up with a 
girdle, that it might not incommode them. Hence, the fimiKtude 
of having their loins girt^ to exprefs alertnefs, and habitual pre- 
paration for the difcharge of duty. I know not why thofe who 
have been fo inclinable, in fome other articles, to give a modern 
caft to the manners of thofe ancients, have not modernized them 
in this alfo, and transformed girding their loins, a very antique 
phrafe, into buttoning their wat/lcoats. This freedom would not 
be fo great, as the reduction of their money and meafures above 
conlidered. It would not even be greater than giving them can- 
dles for lamps., and making them fit at their meals, inflead of re- 
clining on couches. In regard to this lall mode, I propofe to 
conlider it immediately. 

§ 3. Of all their cuftoms, thev were not fo tenacious, as of 
v^hat regarded the form of their clothes. In things which were 
not conceived to be connected with reliorion, and about which nei- 
ther the law, nor tradition, had made any regulation, they did 
not hefitate to conform themfelves to the ma;,r.ers of thofe under 
whofe power they had fallen. A remarkable inftance of this 
appears, in their adopiine; the mode of the Greeks and Romans, 
ill Ijing on couchrs at their meals. I:i the Old Teftament times, 



the praftice of fitting, on fuch cccarions, appears to have been 
univerfal. It is juftly renaarked by Philo *, that Jofeph " made 
" his brethren fit down according to their ages ; for men were 
*' not then accaftomed to lie on beds at entertainments." The 
v.'ords in the Septuagint, Gen. xhu. 33. are, iKciBifxv sv^vnev xv-m ; 
in the Engliili tranflation. They fat before him; both literally 
from the Htbrew. In like manner. Gen. xxxvii. 25. iKei^itrni ii 
<pxyut tecTty, they fat down to eat bread; and, Exod. xxxii. 6. 
iKiSic-iM 5 A«»j <pxyui X.XI 5r«ii», the people fat doivn to eat and drink. 
But it were endlefs to enumerate all the examples. Suffice it to 
obferve, that this is as uniformly employed to exprefs the pofture 
at table in the Old Teftament, as xtxy-Xirv, or fome fynonymous 
term, is employed for the fame purpofe in the New. The He- 
brew word is equally unequivocal with the Greek. It is alw-ays 
^\y> Jafhab, to Jit, never ^Dtf fhachab, or any other word that 
imports lying down. 

Some, indeed, have contended, that this manner of eating was , 
pra6tiled among the Jews before the captivity ; and in fupport of 
this opinion, have produced the paffiige in Samuel, i Sam. xxviii. 
23. where Saul is fpoken of as eating on the bed. But the paf- 
fage, when examined, makes clearly againll the opinion for 
which it has been quoted. The hiflorian's exprefiion \%,fat upon 
the bed. Nor is this, as in the New Tefl:ament, the flyle mere- 
ly of modern tranflators, it is that of the original, as well as of 
all the ancient tranflations. The ?5eptuagint lays ly^nri, the Vul- 
gate fedit. Houbigant is the only tranflator I know, who (mif- 
led, I fuppofe, by the ordinary ftyle of Latin authors), has faid 
decubuit. The Hebrew word is D5i^' fafbah^ which never figni- 
fies to lie. Now, whether a man on a bed take his repaft fitting 
after the European manner, with his feet on the floor, or after 
the Turkifb, with his legs acrofs under him, his pofture differs 
totally from that of the ancient Greeks and Romans, who lay 
at their length. 

The words of the Prophet Amos, ch. vi. 4. have alfo been 
thought to favour the fame opinion : Wo to them that lie upon beds' 
of ivory, and ftretch themfelves upon their couches, and eat the 
lambs out of the fiock^ and the calves out of the ftall., that chant 
to the found of the viol.^ &.c. Here the Prophet upbraids the 
people with their floth and luxury, fpecifying a few inflances in 
their manner of living. But nothing is faid that implies any 
other connection among thefe inftances, than that of their being 
the effects of the fame caufe, voluptuoufnefs. We have no more 
reafon to conneft their eating the lambs and the calves with their 
lying ftretched on beds of ivory, than we have to connect witli 


* ''E\r,i ^i ■xpo?'x^tvT6i Kurx t«? vMKtxi x.xBi^if6xt, ^/,x« rui xtB^a>7rui ep 
TXif trvfATTtriKXii e-ii»8c««<s KXTtcKXic-u y^^uuiiui. Lib. de Jolcpho. 


this poflure, their chanting to the found of the viol, and anoint- 
ing themfelves with ointments. 

Bat in the Apocryphal writings, which are poftcrlor in com- 
pofition to thofe ot the Old Teitainent, and probably pofterior to 
the Macedonian conquefls, though prior to the books of the 
New, we have the firft indications of this change of pofture. It 
is faid of Judith, ch.xii. ij. iU the common verfion, that her 
maid laid foft Jhins on the ground for her over againft Holofernes^ 
that jhe might fit and eat upon ihem^ m to io-itin x.ei.Txic'/.iyof4ir/,v j~' 
nvTuv, literally, that Jhe fjiight eat /ying upon them. Again, in 
Tobit, ch. ii. 1. um^icm. ts (()a.Xui, not i fat^ but / lay down to eat. 
Other examples might be given wi^ich render it probable that 
this fafnion was fiirlt introductd into Judea by the Greeks, befuie 
the Jews became acquainted with the Remans. A fare evidence 
this, that the Jews were not fo obftinaiely tenacious of every na- 
tional cultom, as fome have reprtfented them. It is very re- 
markable that, in our Saviour's time, il)e change was univerfal 
in Judea, that the very common people always conformed to it. 
The multitudes which our Lord twice fed in the defert, are by 
all the EvangeliPiS repreiented as lying, not Jilting, upon the 
ground. It is flrange that cur traiiflators- have here, by mlfin- 
terpreting one word, as invariably exhibited them praclifing a 
cuftom which they had abandoned, as they had formerly, by the 
unwarranted and unnecel^ary change of a name, given ground to 
think that there was an alteration in their cuftoms, when there 
was none. 

§ 4. I know it is commonly pleaded in escufe for fucii devia- 
tions from the original, as that whereof I am now fpeaking, that 
the poflure is a circumilance noway material to the right under- 
Itanding of the paiTages wherein it is occafionally mentioned; 
that beiides, to us moderns, there appears in the exprefTions lying 
down to meat^ and laying themfelves at table, from their repug- 
nancy to our cutloms, an awkvvardnefs which, fo far from con- 
tributing to fix cur minds on the principal fcope of the author, 
would divert our attention from it. In anfwer to the firfl of 
thefe objeftions, I admit that it is fometimes, not always, as wiji 
foon be fliown. of no coafequence to the import of the palTage, whe- 
ther a mere circumilance, whicii is but occafionally mentioned, 
and on which the inflruciion conveyed in the llory docs not de- 
pend, be rightly apprehended or not. The two miracles of the 
loaves and fifties are to all valuable purpofes the fame, whether 
the people partook of their repafl fitting or lying. The like 
may be faid of the greater part of fuca narratives. For this rea- 
fon I do not except againlt a general exprefTion, as, placed them-' 
fehes at table, where a literal verfion would be attended with the 
inconvenience of appearing unnatural : but I oould never approve, 
for the fake of elegance or fimplicity, a verfion whicli, in effeft, 



mifreprefents the original ; or, in ether words, from which one 
may fairly deduce inferences that are not conformable to fa6^. 
In regard to the other exception, I cannot help obferving, that 
it is only becaufe the expreflion lying at meat is unufaal, that it 
appears awkward. If the firft tranflators of the Bible into En- 
glifti had thought fit, in this inftance, to keep clofc to the origi- 
nal, the phrafes would not now have founded awkwardly. But 
it mud be owned that no tranflators enjoy at prefent equal ad- 
vantages with thofe who had, in a manner, the forming of our 
language in regard to things facred. Their verfions, by being 
widely difperfed, would foon give a currency to the terms cfed 
in them, which there was then no contrary ufe to counterbalance. 
And this is the reafon why many things which might have been 
better rendered then, cannot now fo well be altered. 

\ 5. But to fhow that even fuch errors in tranflating, however 
trivial they may appear, are fcmetimes highly injurious to the 
fenfe, and render a plain ftory not only incredible but abfurd, T 
mull entreat the reader's attention to the following pafl'age, as it 
runs in the common verfion, Luke vii. 36, 37, 38. : One of the 
Pharifees dcjired Jefus that he ivonld eat ivith him ; and be uent 
into the Pharifee''s houfe, and fat down to meat. Ani behold a 
ii)oman in the city, which ivas afnner, whenfje Jkncw that ffus 
fat at meat in the Pharifee^ s ^oufc, brought an alabajier box of 
ointment, and flood at his feet behind him weeping, and began to 
waJJj bis feet with tears^ and did wipe them with the hairs of her 
head, and kiffed his feet^ and anointed them with the ointment. 
Now a reader of any judgment will need to refleft but a moment 
to difcover, that what is here told is impoflible. If Jefus and 
others were in our manner fitting togt-ther at meat, the woman 
could not be benind them, when doing what is here recorded. 
She muft in that cafe, on the contrary, have been under the ta- 
ble. The chairs, on which the guells were feated, would have 
effectually precluded accefs from behind. It is faid alfo that fhe 
flood, while llie bathed his feet with tears, wiped them with the 
hairs of her head, anointed and kiiTcd them. Another manifell 
abfurdity. On the fuppofiiion of their fitting, fhe mull have 
been at leafl kneeling, if not lying on tlie floor. Thefe incon- 
fiftencies inllantly difappear, when the Evangelift is allowed to 
fpeak for himlelf, who, inflead of faying that 'Jefus fat down, 
fays exprefsly that he lay down, uv'M.>.iBr,. And to prevent, if 
pofTible, a circumftance being miftaken or overlooked, on which 
the prafticability of the tliing depended, he repeats it by a fv- 
nonymous term in the very next verfe. " When Ihe knew that 
*' Jefus lay at table," ecvxy.iiTxi. The knowledge of their manner 
at meals makes every thing in this ftory level to an ordinary 

j 6. At their feafts, matters were commonly ordered thus : 



Three couches were fet in the form of the Greek Letter n, tlie 
table was placed in the middle, the lower end whereof was left 
open, to give accefs to the fervants, for fetting and removing the 
dilhes. and fervinj the e"e(ts. The other three fidei were in- 
clofed by the couches, whence it got the name of triclinium. 
The mi'adle couch, which lav along the upper end of the table, 
and was therefore accounted the moft honourable place, and that 
which the Pharifees are faid particularly to have aftefted, was 
diftinguilhed by the name ^^aToxXicr/a:, Matt, xxiii. 6. The per- 
fon entrulted with the direftion of the ei; i^rrtainment was called 
x^-^:retKXiyt;^ John ii. 8 The guefts lay with their feet backwards, 
obliquely, acrofs the couches, which were covered, for their bet- 
ter accommodation, with fuch fort of cloth, or tapellry, as fuited 
the quality of the entertainer. As it was neceffary, for the con- 
veniency of eating, that the couches fhould be fomewhat higher 
than the table, the guefts have probably been raifed by them 
three feet, and upwards, from the floor. When thefe particulars 
are taken into conlideration, every circumftance of the ilory be- 
comes perfedtly confiftent and intelligible. This alfo removes 
the difHculty there is, in the account given by John, ch. xiii. 23. 
25. of the pafchal fupper, where Jefus being fet, as our tranfla- 
tors render it, at table, one of his difciples is faid, in one verfe, 
to have been leaning on his bofom, and in another, to have been 
lying on his breaft. Though thefe attitudes are hardly compa- 
tible with our mode of fitting at meals, thev were naturally con- 
fequent upon theirs. As they lay forwards, m a direftion fome- 
what oblique, feeding themfelves with their right hand, and lean- 
ing on their left arm ; they no fooner intermitted, and reclined a 
little, than the head of each came clofe to the breaft of him who 
was next on the left. Now, a circumftance (however frivolous 
in itfelf ) cannot be deemed of no confequence, which ferxes to 
throw light on the facred pages, and folve difficulties, other wife 
inextricable. This cafe, thougli not properly requiring the ufe 
of any ancient or foreign name, I could .lot help conGdering m.i- 
nutely in this place, on account of its affinity with the other to- 
pics of which 1 had been treating. 

§7.1 fhall add a few things, on the manner adopted by other 
tranflators in rendering what relates to this ufage. With regard 
to the Latin verfions, it may naturally be fuppofed, that the \'^ul- 
gate would be literal, and confequently, in this particular, julL 
There was no temptation to depart from the letter. It fuited 
their cuftoms at that period, as well as the idiom of their lan- 
guage. And though it did not fuit tlie cuftoms of the times of 
modern Latin interpreters, they could have no motive, in this 
article, to defert the manner of the ancient tranftator, exprelTed in 
a phrafeology wliich both Latin and Greek claffics had rendered 
familiar. As to tlie tranflations into modern tongues, Luther 


283 ? R E L 1 M I K A R y 

appears to have been the firft wlio, in his tranflation into Ger- 
man, has, in this particular, forced the Evangelifls into a con- 
formit}' with modern fufhions. The French trarflator, Olivetan, 
has avoided the falfe tranflation of ^fining for lyings and alfo the 
apparent awkwardnefs of a literal verfion. In the paflage from 
Luke, above quoted, he fajs, // fe mit a table ; and fpeaking of 
the woman, Laquelle ayant connu qu^il etoit a table. In tlie mi- 
raculous increaiV of the loaves and the fiflies in the defert, Matt. 
XV. 35. he thus expreffes himfelf : // comrnanda aux troiipe\ de 
s^arranger par terre. Diodati has, in the fiitt of thefe paffagcs, 
adopted the fame method with the French tranflaror, faying Ji 
rr.ife a tavola ; and ch''egii era a tavola ,• In the other, h?. has 
fallen into the error of cur common verfion, and faid, Jefu com- 
mando alle turhe, che ft metteffiro a federe in terra. Moft other 
French verfions have taken the fame method of eluding the diffi- 
culty. But all the late Englifl) vetfions I have fetn, follow im- 
plicitly the common tranflcition. 

§ 8. To come now to ofiices and judicatories : it mufl be ac- 
knowledged that, in thefe, it is not always eafy to fay, as was 
remarked in a preceding Diflertation *, whether the refemblances. 
to, or differences from, offices and judicatories of our own, ought 
to induce us to retain the original term, or to tranilate it. But 
whatever be in this, or however the firfl tranflators ought to have 
been determined in their choice between thefe m,f thods, the mat- 
ter is not equallf open to us in this late age as it was to them. 
The eleftion made by our predecefTors, in this department, has 
eftabliOied an ufe wliich, except in fome particular cafes, it would 
be dangerous in their fucceCTors to violate ; and which therefore, 
unlefs where perfpicuity or energy requires an alteration, ought 
to be followed. For example, v.ho could deny that the Greek 
terms, «yye>i«?, etTrofoXoi, ^ixS&Xcg, might not have been as well ren- 
dered mrj/en^er, f/ifj/ionarj^ Jlanderer^ as the words is^snj, W-f.^ir-ftc, 
«vT(^<jcaj, are rendered, pricjl^ minijlcr^ adverfary. In regard to 
the import of the words, there does not appear to me to be a 
clofer correfpondence in the lafl mentioned, than in the firfl. 
Befides, as the firfl are themfelves no other than Greek tranfla- 
tions of the Hebrew words \V^'C^. ni'^^T IN'^D, fatan, Jljaluch, 
inalach^ which the Seventy have not judged neceitary to retain in 
another language, and in this judgment have been followed by 
the writers of the New Teftament ; they have given the exam- 
ple of tranflating, rather than transferring, thefe appellatives into 
other languages ; the laft nzvv^^, fatan, being the only one which 
is ever retained by them, and that very feldom. 

But the true fource of the diltindion that has been made in 
this refpeft by European traoflators, is not any particular pro- 
priety in the different cafes, but the example of the old Latin 

tranfla or. 
* DifT. II. 5 ^. 


tranflator. The words which he retaiaed with fuch an alteration 
in the orthography, as adapted them to the genius of the tongue, 
we alfo retain, and the words which he tranflated, we tranflate. 
Becaufe he faid, angelus^ apostolus, diubolw, which are not pro- 
perly Latin words, we fay, angel, apoftU^ devil, not originally 
Englifti. Had he, on the contrary, ufed tlie terms nujicius, lega- 
tus^ calumniator, we had probably fubftituted for them, nu-JJenger, 
mijjionary, Jlanderer, or fome terms equivalent. For ui thofe 
cales wherein the Latin interpreter has not fcrupled to tranflate 
the Greek by Latin words, neither have we fcrupled to render 
them bv EnglilL words. I am, however, far from afarming 
that the interpreters of the Latin church, either in the old Italic, 
or in the prefent Vulgate, have aiSed from caprice iu their 
choice ; though I do not always difcover reafons of fuch weight 
for the diftinftions they have made, as fhould lead us implicitly 
to follow them. 

There is only one example in titles of this fort, wherein the 
moderns have taken the freedom to judge different^. The 
Greek Tru^xKXnrei, in John's Gofpel, is always retained by the 
author of the Vulgate, who ufes parachtus, but has not been fol- 
lowed by later tranflators. Erafmus has fometimes adopted bis 
word, and fometimes faid conjolator^ and is followed in both, by 
the tranflator of Zuric. Caftalio fays confirmatory and Ecza 
advocatus. Mod modern verfions into Italian, French, and En- 
glifli, have, in this inftance, followed Erafmus in the import they 
have given the word in preference even to Beza. And of tliele 
our common verfion is one, ufmg the word comforter. Nay, 
fome French tranflators from the Vulgate have deferted that ver- 
fion, rendering the word either confolateur or avocat. In gene- 
ral, 1 would pay that deference to the e:s.arople of the ancient in- 
terpreters as to prefer their manner, Vv'herever there is not, from 
perfpicuity, energy, or the general fcope of the difcourfe, pofitive 
reafon to the contrary. Such reafon, 1 think, we have in regard 
to the title laft mentioned *. As to the term ^ia/SoAo?, I have al- 
ready confidered the cafes in which it is not proper to render it 
devil f. The name xfra-oXoi is fo much appropriated in the New 
Teftament, to a particular clafs of extraordinary minifters, that 
there are very few cafes, and none that 1 remember in the Gof- 
pels, where either perfpicuity or energy would require a change 
of the term. 

§ 9. It is otherwife with the name ayytAo?, in regard to which 
there are feveral occurrences, where the import of the fentiment 
is, if not lofl:, very much obfcured, becaufe the word in the ver- 
fion has not the fame extent of fignification with that in the ori- 
ginal. It was obferved before J, that there is this difference be- 

O o tween 

* See the note on Johnxiv. i^. f Diff. VI, Part. I. § 1, 3, 4. 
? Diir.VI. Part. I. § i. 


tween the import of fuch terms as they occur ia their native 
tongues, whether Hebrew or Greek, and as modernized in ver- 
fions, that in the former they always retain fomewhat of their 
primitive fignification, and befide indicating a particular being or 
clafs of beings, thev are of the nature of appellatives, and. mark 
a fpecial charader, funflion, or note of diftiiitflion in fuch beings ; 
^vhereas, w^hen latinized or engliftied, but not tranflatcd into La- 
tin or Englifh, thej anfwer folely the firil of thofe ufes, and ap- 
proach the nature of proper names. Now, where tViere happens 
to be a manifeft allulion in the original, to the primitive and or- 
dinary acceptation of the word i;i tUjt language, that alluiioii 
muft be lofl; in a tranflation, where the word is properly not 
tranflated, and where there is nothing in the found that can fug- 
geft the allufion. It is particularlv unfortunate if it be in an ar- 
gument, as the whole will be neceflarily involved in darkncfs. 

§ 10. I fliall illuftrate the preceding obfervations by fom^ re- 
marks on the following paflage, Hcb. i. 4, &cc. 4. Being made 
fo much better than the angels^ as he hath by inheritance obtained 
a more excellent name than they : 5. For unto which of the an- 
gels /aid he at any tirr.e. Thou art my Son this day have I be- 
gotten thee ? And again 1 uill be to him a Father, and he Jhall 
be to me a Son. 6. And again when he bringcth in the firjl-bc- 
gotten into the world, he fcith, And let all the angels of God 
worjhip him. 7. And of the angels he faith. Who maketh his 
angels fpirits, and his minijiers a flime of fire. 8. But unto the 
Son he faith, Thy throne, God, is for ever and ever. I cannot 
help thinking with Grotius, that there is here a comparifon of 
the dignity of the different prifonages mentioned, from the confi- 
deration of what is imported in their refpective titles. This is 
at beft but obfcurely fuggefled in the common verlion. For 
though the word fon is expreflive of a natural and near relation, 
the word angel in our language is the name of a certain order ot 
beings, and befide that exprefles nothing at all. It is not, like 
the original appellation, both in Hebrew and in Gre< k, a name 
of ofHce. Further, the feventh verfe, as it flands with ns, Who 
maketh his angels fpirits, and his minifiers a flame of fire, is un- 
intelligible ; and if fome myft^ical fcnfe may b^- put upon it, this 
is at beft but a matter of conjefture, and appears quite uncon- 
nefted with the argument. It is well known that the word 
'7rti-ju,ttxx rendered fpirits, fignifies alfo winds. That this is the 
meaning of it here, is evident from the paffage, Pfal. ciy, 4. 
^vhence the quotation is taken. For the Hebrew nil tuach, is 
of the fame extent. And though it be in that place, for the 
fake of uniformity, rendered the fame way as here, nothing can 
be more manifeft, than that the Pfalmift is celebrating the won- 
ders of the material creation, all the parts of which execute, in 
their different ways, the commands of the Creator. Our tran- 



(lators not only render the fame Hebrew word wind in the third 
verfe, and fpirits in the fourth, but in this laft evidently flart 
afide from the fubjedl. Nothing, on the contrary, can be better 
connected than the whole paflage in the true, which is alfo the 
moft obvious, interpretation, and may be thus exprefled : Who 
CQvereth himfelf with light as with a mantle^ who Jlretcheth out 
the heavens like a curtain ; who layeth the beams of his chambers 
in the waters ; who maketh the clouds his chariot ; who walketh 
en the wings of the wind ; who maketh winds his meffengers^ and 
flaming fire his minifien * ; ivho hath laid the foundations of the 
earthy thai it fhould never he remo'ued. There is an internal 
probability of the juftnefs of this verfion, arifing from the per- 
fpicuous and clofe connedion of the parts, and an improbability 
in the common verfion, arifing from their obfcurity and want of 
connexion ; ver. 4. Who maktth his angels fpirifs^ his minifiers 
a fiaming fire, being a digreffion from the fcope of the context, 
the material world, to the world of fpirits. 

Now, let us try in the paflage of the Epiftle to the Hebrews 
referred to, how^ the fame tranllation of the words Trvzv/nx and «'/- 
VfAej by wind and mef/enger, through the whole, will fuit the 
Apoflle's reafoning. Speaking of our Lord, he fays, Bei?ig as 
far fuperior to the heavenly mijjlngers, as the title he hath inhe- 
rited IS more excellent than theirs : For to which of thofe meffen^ 
gers did God ever fay, " Thou art my fon, I have to-day begot- 
" ten thee :" And again, " / will be to him a Father, and he 
*'• Jhall be to me a Son :" Again, when he introduceth the firfl- 
horn into the world, he faith, " Let ail God^s mefjengers worfhip 
" himy Whereas, concerning meffengers, he faith, " Who mak- 
*' eth winds his meffengers, and fiaming fire his minifiers ;" But 
to the Son, " Thy throne, God, endureth for ever.'''' To me it 
is plain, firft, that the aim of his reafoning is to Ihow the fupe- 
rior excellency of the Meffiah, from the fuperioritj? of his title 
of So7i, given him in a fenfe peculiar to him (and which, from 
analogy to the conltitutions of the univerfe, fhould imply of the 
fame nature with the Father) to that of meffenger, which does 
not differ eflentially from fervant. Now the EngliCh v.'ord an- 
gel does not exprefs this. It is a name for thofe celeftial beings, 
but without fuggefiing their fun£lion. Secondly, that, in proof 
of the inferiority of tlie title meffenger, tlie writer urges, that it 
is fometimes given even to things inanimate, iuch as llorms and 

Every reader of refledion admits, that there runs, through the 


* Dr Lowth (De fatra Porfi liebrceorum, PiJel. viii ), tliough he it- 
tains the word angelus, undtritands tl^e paffage jult as 1 do, making winds 
:he futjedl, and arige'is a metaphoiic-il attiibate. " Faciens ut venti lint 
" an^eli fuijUt ignis ardens lit libi min.ftrorum loco." He adds : " Dcfcii- 
'* buntur eleirenta in txequendis Dei manJatis. urcmpta et expedua quaii 
" angel), aut ininiftri tabernaculo defejvientcs. ' 


whole pafiage, a contraft of the things fpokea concerning the 
IMeffiah, to the things fpoken concerning angels, in order to fliow 
the fapereminence of the former above the latter. The feventh . 
verfe, as now rendered, perfectly fuits this idea, and completes 
one fide of the contraft. But does it anfwer this purpofe in the 
common verlion ? Not in the deaft : for, will any one fay, that 
it derogates from the higheft dignity to be called a fpirit^ when 
it is confidered that God hirafelf is fo denominated ? And as the 
term fl.itning fire^ when applied to intelligent beings, muft be 
metaphorical, the confideration that, by fuch metaphors, the 
energy and omnifcience of the Deity are fometimes reprefented, 
will, in our eftimation, ferve rather to enhance than to deprefs 
the character. The cafe is totally different, vj\\tn flaming flre, 
or lighming, in the literal fenfe, is made the fubjedl of the pro- 
poficion, and God^s mejfengers the predicate. 

§11. I know that it has been objedled to this interpretation, 
that nil ruach^ though ufed in the fingular for voind^ does not 
occur in this fenfe, in the plural, except w"hen joined with the 
numeral adjeftive ybwr. But from this, though it were true, we 
can coiK'iude nothing. That the word is found in this meaning, 
in the plural, is a futhcient ground for interpreting it fo, when 
the connexion requires it. Farther, though it were conclufive, 
it is not true. In Jeremiah, ch. xlix. 36. we find, in the fame 
paffage, both nimi y^"1X arhaug ruchoth, four winds ^ and 
n"!m*^n "^D col baruclotb, all the winds, where it was never 
doubted, that both exprefiions were ufed of the winds. As to 
the mlinuation which fome have thrown out concerning this ex- 
planation, as unfavourable to the doctrine of Chrift's divinity, it 
can be accounted for only from that jealoufy, an invariable at- on the polemic fpirit, which ftill continues too much to 
infeft and lilhonour theological enquiries. This jealoufy, how- 
ever, apptrars fo much mifplaced here, that the above interpreta- 
tion is manifeftly more favourable to the common dodtrine than 
the other. I fay not this to recommend it to any party, know- 
ing that, in thefe matters, we ought all to be determined by the 
impartial principles of found criticifm, and not by our own pre- 

§ 12. But, to return ; a fecond cafe wherein it is better to em- 
ploy the general word nujfenger is, w'hen it Is not clear from 
the context, whether the facred penmen meant a celeftial or a ter- 
reilrial being. In fuch cafes, it is always bell to render the term, 
fo as that the verfion may admit the fame latitude of interpreta- 
tion with the original ; and this can be effected only by ufing the 
general term. For this reafon, in the following exprelTions, 

cirttit; iXx^iTi ret »o/*o> us 5(«T«y«j cty/iXan, A61s Vli. 53. and iiXTXyiti 

ii «yysA4i» sv ^u^i fmrtra, Gal. iii, 19. it would have been better to 
traiiQate ayya** mej/lngers, as it is not certain whether fuch ex- 


traordinary minifters as Mofes and Jodiua, and the fucceeding 
prophets, be meant, or any of the heavenly hoft. The fame 
may be faid of that palTage, opuMi i yvtm t^ao-iscf iyjiv i-n rvii Ki!p»Miy 
iix TVi «yya««, I Cor. xi. 10. it being very doubtful whether the 
word, in this place, denotes angels or men. 

§ 13. A third cafe, wherein (I do not fay it muft, but) it may 
properly be rendered rnejjengers, is when, though it evidently re- 
fers to fuperior beings, it is joined with fome word or epithet, 
which fufficientlv marks the reference, as *yyi>.fx; Kv^tti, a mej/t^ti- 
ger of the Lord, «< uy/iXot rut »§«>»», the heavenly mejjengers^ 
it ayiet myyiKu, the holy mejftngers ; for, with the addition ot the 
epithet, the Engliih is juit as explicit as the Greek. Not but 
that fuch epithets may in fome fenfe be applied to men alfo ; but 
it is cuftomary with the facred writers thus to diftinguiih the in- 
habitants of heaven. In this cafe, however, it muft be admitted, 
that either way of tranflating is good. There is one advantage 
in fometimes adopting this manner, that it accuftoms us to the 
word inejfenger in this application, and may confequently aliift 
the unlearned in applying it in doubtful cafes. In fome cafes, 
not doubtful, to add the word heavenly ia the verfion, is no inter- 
polation, for the (ingle word ayyiXc^ often includes it. Thus, 
though the word yXuTcrx originally means no more than tongue^ 
it is frequently employed to denote an unknown or foreign 

\ 14. A fourth cafe wherein the general term is proper, is 
when the word is applied to a human being. This rule, how- 
ever, admits fome exceptions, foon to be taken notice of. Our 
tranflators have rightly rendered it mejfenger^ in the inltances 
which fall under this defcription, noted in the margin *, wherein 
they are not only human beings that are meant, but the melTage 
is from men. 

§15. I faid, that there are fome exceptions from this rule. 
The firft is, when not only the meffage is from God, but when it 
appears to be the view of the writer to (hew the dignity of the 
mifTion, from the title given to the miffioner, as being a title 
which he has in common WMth fuperior natures ; in fuch cafes, it 
is better to preferve in the verfion the term angel.^ without which 
the allufion is loft, and by confequence juftice is not done to the 
argument. For this reafcn the word angel ought to be retained 
in the noted palTage of the Gofpels concerning John the Baptift, 
Matt. xi. 9, 10. What went ye to fee? a prophet .J" yea^ I tell you, 
and fomething fuperior to a prophet ; for this is he concerning 
whom it is written, Behold 1 /end mine angel before thee, who 
fhall prepare thy way. There is manifeftly couched here a com- 
parifcn between the two titles prophet and angel., with a view to 

* Ljke vii, 74. ix. 52. Ja:r,es ii. 25. 

294 P R E L I ?.I I N- A R Y 

raife the latter. Now, to this end the common Engliih word 
mejfenger is not adapted, as it does not convey to us the idea of 
greater dignity than that of a prophet, or even of fo great. My 
argument here may be thought not quite confiftcnt with what I 
urged in my firft remark on this word. But the two cafes are 
rather oppofite than (imilar. The allufionwas there to the ordi- 
nary fignification of the term ; the alluiion is here not to the fig- 
nification, but to the common application of it, to beings of a 
fuperior order. The intention was there comparatively to de- 
prefs the charafter, the intention here is to exalt it. 

§ 1 6. Another cafe in which the word angel ought to be re- 
tained, though ufed of man, is when there would arife either ob» 
fcurity or ambiguity from the conltrudion, if the word mejfenger 
ihould be employed. It cannot be doubted, that the angels of 
the feven churches mentioned in the Apocalypfe, Rev. i, 20. 
ii. 1.8. 12. 18. iii. i. 7. 14. are human creatures ; but ihe term 
mejfenger would render the expreilion ambiguous or rather im- 
proper. The meflenger of focieties (in like manner as of indi- 
viduals), is one fent by them, not to them. In this, and fome 
other infiances, the Greek ayysAe? is to be underilood as corre- 
fponding in extent of fignification to the Hebrew n{< 7?0 malach^ 
which often denotes a minijter^ or fervant employed in any charge 
of importance and dignity, though not a melTage. It would, 
therefore, be no deviation from what is included in the Hellenif- 
tic fenfe of the word, if through the whole of that pallage it 
were rendered prcjident. 

§ 17. In what conceins civil offices, our tranflators have very 
properly retained fome names to which we have none entirely 
equivalent. Of this number is the name tetrarch^ which admits 
no explanation but by a periphrafis. Centurion and publican are 
of the fame kind. The word legion, though not a name of of- 
fice, being the name of a military divifion, to which we have 
not any exactly correfponding, may be ranked in the fame clafs. 
The three words laft fpecified are neither Hebrew, nor Greek, 
but Latin ; and as they are the names of things familiar only to 
the Latins, they are beft expreifed by thofe names of Latin de- 
rivation employed by our tranflators. Two of them occur in 
the Latin form in the New Teftament, ><.iyiav and Kt^'zvsicay. 
though for the latter word the Greek iKxrcyrx^yj^ is oitener 

It may be proper here to obferve, in regard to fuch Latin ap- 
pellatives, that from the connexion which has fubfifted between 
all European countries and the Roman?, and from the general 
acquaintance which the Wellern nations have long had with the 
ancient Roman ufages, hiRory and literature ; their names of of- 
fices, &c. are naturalized in moft modern languages, particularly 
in Engliih. This makes the adoption of the Latin name for an 



oilice, or any other thing which tiie Jews liad fokJy from the 
Romans, pecuUarly pertinent. The remark, now made holds, ef- 
pecialiy when the perfons fpoken of were eiiher Romans, or the 
fervants of Rome. If, therefore, after the V^ulgate, we had ren- 
dered %i>^'«?%e5 tribune^ «y5u5r«To? procotijal, and perhaps c-xsj^os, 
cohort^ the expreffion, without lofing any thing in perfpicuity to 
thofe of an inferior clafs, would have been to the learned reader 
more lui^nificant than chief- captain, deputy^ hand. 

The word «yjM*v alfo, though fometimes a general term, deno- 
\\\-\g governor ox prejident ; yet, as applied to Pilate, is known to 
import no more than procurator. Properly there was but one 
prejident in Syria, of which Judea was a part. He who had the 
iuperintendency of this part was ftyled imperatoris procurator. 
For this we have the authority of Tacitus, the Roman annalift, 
and of Phil©, the Alexandrian jew. And though the author of 
the Vulgate has commonly ufed the term prafes for yiyr,(zm, yet, 
in tranflating Luke, ch.iii. i. he has rendered iiy£^o>iev«vTflj n«»r(» 
n*A«r» T/;; l^'hoiiCi, procurante Pontio Pilato Judceam. Vo thofe 
who know a little of the language, or even of the hiftory, of 
ancient Rome, the Latin names, in many cafes, are much more 
definite in their fignification, than the words by which they are 
commonly rendered, and being already familiar in our language, 
are not, even to the vulgar, more obfcure than names originally 
Englifh, relating to things wherewith they are little acquainted. 
For a fimilar reafon, 1 have alfo retained the name pretorium., 
which, though a Latin word, has been adopted by the facred 
writers, and to which neither common-hall nor judgment-hall 
entirely anfwers. That the evangelifl:s, who wrote in Greek, a 
more copious language, found themfelves compelled to borrov/ 
from the Latin, the name of v\hat belonged to the office cif a 
Roman magiftrate, is to their tranfiators a fufficient authority for 
adopting the fame method. 

^ 18. I fhall conclude this diflertation with obferving, that 
there are two judicatories mentioned in the New Telfament, one 
Jewifh, the other Grecia.i, the diflinguifliing names of which 
may not, without energy, be preferred in a tranflation. Though 
the noun tjvr^piov is Greek, and fufceptible of the general inter- 
pretation council or fenate ; yet, as it is commonly in the Gofpels 
and A£ts appropriated to that celebrated court of fenators or el- 
ders accuftomed to affemble at Jerufalem, and from the Greek 
name, CdlXtdi fanhedrim^ which was at once their national fenate 
and fupreme judicatory ; and as it appears not in thofe books to 
have been ever applied to any other particular aflembly, though 
fometimes to fuch in general as were veiled with the highefl au- 
thority ; I have thought it reafonable to retain the word fanhe- 
drim in every cafe where there could be no doubt that this is the 
coi^rt fpoken of. The name has been long naturalized in the 

language j 


language ; and, as it is more confined in Its application than any- 
common term, it is fo much the more definite and energetic. 
The other is the famous Athenian court called the Areopagus^ 
and mentioned in the Adts, ch. xvii. 19. whieh, as it was in fe- 
veral refpefls peculiar in its conftltution, ought to be difllnguifh- 
ed in a verfion, as it is in the original, by its proper name. To 
render it Mars hill from etymology, without regard to ufe, would 
entirely miflead the unlearned, who could never imagine that the 
hiftorian fpoke of bringing the apoftle before a court, but would 
fuppofe that he only informed us that they brought him up to an 
eminence in the city, from which he difcourfed to the people. 
This is in part effected by the common verfion ; for, though in 
verfe 19. it is faid, They brought Paul to Areopagus ^ it is added 
in verfe 22. Then Paul flood in the midji of Mars.hill^ and faid. 
This leads one to thiak that thefe were two names for the fame 
hill. The Areopagus with the article is the proper verfion in 
both places. 






It was obferved, in a former dilTertation *, as one caufe of diffi- 
culty in the examination of the Scriptures, that before we bogin 
to ftudj them critically, we have been acculiomed to read theui in 
a tranflation, whence we have acquired a habit of conlideriii- le- 
veral ancient and Oriental terms as equivalent to certain -v- -^:,, 
in modern ufe, in our own language, by 'Ahich they have b.-v.ii 
commonly rendered What makes the difficulty greater is, that 
when we become acquainted with other veriions befide that into 
our mother- tongue, thefe, inftead of correc+iug, ferve but to con- 
firm the prejudice. For, in thrfe tranflations, we find the .aaie 
original words rendered by words which we know to correfpond 
exadlily in thole tongues, to the terms employed m the Englilh 
tranflation. In order to fet this oblervation in the llrongelt light, 
it will be neceflary to trace the origin of fome terms which have 
become technical amongft eccltfiallic writers, pointing out the 
changes in meaning which they have undergone. When altera- 
tions are produced gradually, they efcape the notice 01 the gene- 
rality of people, and iometimes even of the more difcerning. 
For a term once univerfally underftocd to be equivalent to aa 
original term, whofe place it occupies in the tranflation, will na- 
turally be fuppofed ftill equivalent, by thofe who do not attend 
to the variations in the meanings of words, which a trafl of time 
often infenfibly produces. Sometimes etymology contributes to 
favour the deception. 

How few are there, even the readers of the ori^^iual, 

who entertain a lufpicion that the words mystery^ hlafph-'my^ 

Jcbifm, bertfy, do not convey to ir.oderns precifeiy thole .deas 

which the Greek words (being the fame except in teru na- 

VuL. I. P p lion) 

* Diff. II. Part I! I. § (?. 


tion) fivn^ity, (iXxfTYiuix, c-/,t7f/,*, 0.1^1^1?, in the New Teflaraent, 
conveyed to Chriftians in the times of the apoftles ? Yet, that 
there is not fuch a correfpondence in meaning between them as 
is commonl}- fuppofed, 1 intend, in the prefent Difiertation, to 
put beyond a doubt. That there is a real difFerence, in regard to 
fome of thofe words is, I think, generally allowed by men of let- 
ters ; but as all are not agreed in regard to the precife difference 
between the one and the other, I (ball here examine briefly the 
import of the original terms, in the order above mentioned, that 
we may be qualified to judge how far they are rightly rendered 
by the words fuppofed to correfpond to them, and that we may 
not be mifled, by the refemblance of found, to determine con- 
cerning the famenefs of iignification. 


0/ Mystery. 

X HE Greek word f£v?-Yj^ie» occurs frequently in the New Tefta- 
ment, and is uniformly rendered, in the Englifh tranflation, myf- 
tery. We all know tnat by the moft current ufe of the Englifh 
word my/tery (a.s well as of the Latin ecclefialHc word myfteriuTTJf 
and the correfponding terms in modern languages), is denoted 
fome doftrine to human reafon incomprehenfible ; in other words, 
fuch a doftrine as exhibits difiiculties, and even apparent contra- 
diftions, which we cannot folve or explain. Anether ufe of the 
word, which, though not fo univerfal at prefent, is often to be 
iTiet with in ecclefiaftic writers of former ages, and in foreign 
writers of the prefent age, is to fignify fome religious ceremony 
or rite, efpecially thofe now denominated facraments. In the 
communion office of the church of England, the elements, after 
confecration, are fometimes termed holy myfteries. But this ufe 
feems not now to be common among Proteftants, lefs perhaps in 
this country than in any other. Johnfon has not fo much as 
mentioned it in his Dictionary. Indeed in the fourth, and fome 
fucceeding centuries, the word f^-jcr.otoy was fo much in vogue 
with the Greek fathers, and myjierium ov facramentum, as it was 
often rendered, with the Latin, that it would be impoffible to 
fay in what meaning they ufed the words ; nay, whether or not 
they affixed any meaning to them at all. In every thing that re- 
lated to religion, there were found myjieries and facraments, in 
doctrines ajid precepts, in ordinances and petitions ; they could 



even difcover numbers of them in the Lord's Prayer. Naj^ fo 
late as father Pollevini, this unmeaning application of thefe terms 
lias prevailed in feme places. That jefuit is cited with appro- 
bation by Walton in the prolegomena to his Polyglot, for faying, 
" Tot efle in Hebraica Scriptura facramenta, quot literae ; tot 
** myfteria, quot puncta ; tot arcana, quot apices," a fentence, I 
acknowledge, as unintelligible to me, as Father Simon o^ns it 
was to him. But paffing this indefinite ufe, of which we knov/ 
not what to make, the two figniiications I have mentioned, are 
fufficiently known to theologians, and continue, though net 
equally, ilill in ufc with modern writers. 

§ 2. When we come to examine the Sciiptures criticallv, and 
make tlicm ferve for their own interpreters, which ia the fureft 
way of attaining the true kaowledge of them, Ave &all fitid, if I 
millake not, that both thefe fenfes are unfupported by tlie ufage 
of the infpired penmen. After the mofl careful examination of 
all the pallages in the New Teilament, in which the Greek word 
occurs, and after confulting the ufe made of the term, by the an- 
cient Greek interpreters of the Old, and borrowing aid from the 
pradtice of tlie Helleniil Jews, in the writings called Apocrypha, 
I can only find two fenfes nearly related to each other, which can 
llnclly be called fcriptural. The firfl, and what I may call the 
leading fcnfe of the word, is arcanum, a fecret, any thing not dif- 
clofed, not publifhed to the world, though perhaps communicated 
to a fele6l number. 

§ 3. Now, let it be obferved, that this is totally difTerent from 
the current fenfe of the Znglivh word myftery, fomething in- 
comprehenlible. In the former acceptation, a thing was no lon- 
ger a myftery than whilfl it remained unrevealed ; in the latter, a 
thing is equally a myftery after the revelation as before. To 
the former we apply properly the epithet unknown^ to the latter 
we may, in a great meafure, apply the term unknowable. Thus, 
that God would call the Geniiles, ap.d receive them into his 
church, was as intelligible, or, if ye like the term better, com- 
preheniible, as that he once had called the defcendents of the pa- 
triarchs, or as any plain propolition or hiilorical faft. Yet, 
whilfl undifcovered, or at lead veiled under figures and types, it 
remained in the fcriptural idiom, a tp.ypery, having been hidden 
from ages and generations. But, ciiter it had pleafed God to re- 
veal this his gracious purpofe to the apofiles by his Spirit, it was 
a m) fiery no longer. 

The Greek words, dT^oy-xXvyii and f^v<rr,^tov, fland in the lame 
relation to each other that the Englifli words difcovery zndi fecret 
do. Mvs-tiaioy x7ro:<xX-jJ>^i'j, is a fecret difcovercJ^ and confcquentl7 
a fecret no longer. The difcovery is the extinction of the fecret 
as fuch. Thefe words, accordingly, or words equivalent, as 
fivrn^tev 'pus^.cri-.M, ^xfie^ai^m, are often bioueht together by the apo- 


300 P R E L I M I I' A R Y 

ftles, to fliew that what were once the fecret purpofes and coun- 
feis of God, had been imparted to them, to be by them promul- 
gated to ail the world. Thus thej invited the grateful attention 
of all to what was fo diftinguifhed a favour on the part of Hea- 
ven, a!id muft be of fuch unfpeakable importance to the apoftate 
race of Adam. The terms, communication, revelation, mani- 
feftation, plainly fhevv the import of the term /tcvrn^iev, to which 
they are applied. As this, indeed, feems to be a point now uni- 
verfally acknowledged by the learned, I fhall only rekr the judi- 
cious reader, for further proof of it from the New Teftament, 
to the palTages quoted in the margin * ; in all which, he uiJl 
plainly perceive, that the apoflle treats of fomething which had 
lieen concealed for ages (and for that reafon called (ttvrji^io)-), but 
■was then openly re\ealed; and not of any thing, in its own na- 
ture, dark and inconceivable. 

§ 4. If, in addition to the evidence arifing from fo many direcl 
and clear pafTages in the writings of Paul, it fhould be thought 
neceflary to recur to the ufage of the Seventy, we find that, in 
the Prophet Daniel, ch. ii. 18, 19. 27. 28, 29. 3c. 47. iv. 9. the 
word fi-Ji-x^iev occurs not fewer than nine times, anfwering always 
to the Chaldaic ^?^ raza, res a/cana, and ufed in relation to 
Nebuchadnezzar's dream, which was become a fccret, cvtn to 
the dreamer himfelf, as he had forgot it. The word there is 
uniformly rendered in the common verfion y^crf ^ ; and it deferves 
to be remarked that, in thofe veife , it is found conne61ed with 
the verbs yvij^i^c.-, (pi:TiC^, and «xo*kAv«-t4( ; in a way exa£lly fimi- 
lar to the ufage of the New Teftament above obfi^rved. It oc- 
•curs in no other place of that verfion, but one in Ifaiah, of very 
doubtful import. In the apccryphal wrtlngs (which, in matters 
of cnticifm on the Helleniftic idiom, are of uood authority), the 
"Word fivr/.^iov frequently occurs in the fame ienfe, and is ufed in 
reference to human fecrets, as well as to divine. Nay, the word 
is not, even in the New Teftament, confined to divine fecrets. 
It exprefTes fometimes thofe of a ditfcrent, and even contrary, 
nature. Thus, the Apoftle, fpeaking of the antichriftian fpirit, 
fays, The myjlery of iniquity dcith already uork, 2 ThefT. ii. 7. 
The fpirit of antichiift hath begun to operate ; but the operation 
is latent and unperceived. The Gofpel of Chrift is a blelTing, 
the fpirit of antichrift a curfe. Both are equally denominated 
myftery^ or fecret, whilft they remain concealed. 

§ j. 1 fhall be much ixiifunderftood, if any one infer, from 
what has been now advanced, that I mean to fignify, that there 
is nothing in the doftrines of religion which is not, on all fides, 
perfectly comprehenfible to us, or nothing from which difficulties 
may be raifed, that we are not able to give a fatisfaclory folution 


* Rom. xvi. 25, 25. I Cor. ii. 7, 8, 9, ic?. Eph. i, 9. iii. 3. 5. 6, p. 
vi. 19. Col. i. 26, 37, 


of. On the contrary, I am fully convinced, that in all fciences, 
particularly natural theology, as well as in revelation, there are 
many truths of this kind, whcfe evidence fuch objcdions are not 
regarded by a judicious perfon, as of force fufficient to invalidate. 
For example, the divine omnilcience is a tenet of natural religion. 
This maiiilcitly implies God's foreknowledge of ail future 
events. Yet, to reconcile the divine prefcience with the freedom, 
and even the contingency, and confequently, with the good or ill 
defert ot human aftiors, is what 1 have never yet feen atchieved 
by any, and i.".deed defpair of feeing. That there are fuch diffi- 
culties alfo in the doclrines of revelation, it would, in my opi- 
niop, be very abfurd to deny. But the prcferit inquiry does not 
affect that matter in the lesft. This inquiry is critical and con- 
cerns folely the fcriptural acceptation oi the word ftv-^^io*, which 
I have fhown to relate merely to the fecrecy for fome time ob- 
ferved with regard to any doftrine, whether myfterious, in the 
modern acceptation of the word, or not. 

§ 6. The foregoing obfervations will throw fome light on what 
Paul fays of the nature of the office wiih which he was vefted : 
I^t a man fo account of us. as of the minifiers of Chriji, and 
Jieuards of the myftitics of God, i Cor. iv. i o;x«»oAt8s fiv^fi^iui Qus, 
dupenfers to mankind of the gracious purpofes of heaven, here- 
tofore concealed, and therefore denominated fecrets. Nor ca;i 
any thing be more conformable than this interpretation both to 
the infirudtions given to the Apoflles, during our Loic.'a miniftry, 
and to the commiffion they received from him. In regard to ti.e 
former, he tells them. To jou it it given to knoiv the myfteries cj 
the kingdom of hen'oin ; no fecret, relating to is with- 
held from you ; hut to tbem it is not given. Matt, xiii.41. that 
is, not yet given. For thefe very Apoflles, when commiffioned 
to preach, were not only empowered, but commanded to difciofe 
to all the world, (Matt, xxviii. 19. Mark xvi. i ^^) the whole my- 
ftery of God, his fecret counfels in regard to man's falvation. 
And that they might not imagir;e that the private informations, 
receivied from their Mafler, had never been intended for the pub- 
} c ear, he gave them this exprefs i-ijunclion, Wrat I tell you m 
darkntfi^ that fpeak ye in light. And what ye hear in the ear , 
that preach ye upon the houje tops. He affigns the reafon, the 
divine decree ; a topic to which he oftener than once recurs. 
There is nothing covered that fhall not he revealed, and hid that 
fjjall not be k'own^ Matt. x. 26, 27. Again: There is nothing 
hid^ which fhall not he manifefted ; neither was any thing kept 
fecret, but that it fhould come ah> oad^ Mark iv. 22. This u:!ay 
ferve to explain to us the import o^ thefe phrafes which occur 
in the Epillks, as expreffing the whole Chriftian inftitution, the 
myftery of the gofpel^ the myftery of the faith, the myflery of 
Godf and the myftery of Chrift ,• myflery, in the lingular num- 

302 r R E L I M I N A R V 

bcr, not myfteries, in the plural, which would have been more 
conformable to the modern import of the word, as relating to 
the incomprehenfibiUt}^ of the different articles of doftiine. But 
the whole of the gofpcl, taken to^^ethcr, is denominated the jny. 
fiery, the grand fecret, in reference to the filence or concealment 
under which it was formerly kept ; as, in like manner, it is 
flyled the rev>;lation of Jefus Chrifi, in reference to the publica- 
tion afterwards enjoined. 

§ 7. I fignified, before, that there was another meaning which 
the term f^tv^-vi^iov fomelimes bears in the New Teflament.- But 
it is fo i'.early related to, if not coincident with, the former, that 
I am doubtful whether I can call it otlier than a particular ap- 
plication of the fame meaning. However, if the thing be un- 
derftood, it is not material which of the two ways we denomi- 
nate it. The word is fometimes employed to denote the figura- 
tive fenfe, as ditlingaidied from the litera;, which is conveyed 
under any Table, parable, allegory, fymbolical aftion, reprefenta- 
tion, drram, or vifion. It is plain that, in this cafe, the term 
ftvmpuv is ufed comparatively ; for, however clear the meanino^, 
intended to be conveyed in the apologue, or parable, may be to 
the intelligent, it is obfcure, compared with the literal fenfe, 
which, to the unintelligent, proves a kind of veil. The one is, 
as it were, open to the fenfes ; the other requires penetration and 
refleftion. Perhajis there was fome alluiion to this import of 
the term, when our Lord faid to his difciples, To you it is given 
to i^riow the myftery of the kingdom of God : but to them that are 
without all thefe thi'igs are done in parables^ Mark iv. 11. The 
Aportles v.'ere let into the fecret, and got the fpintual fenfe of 
the limilitude, whilil the multitude amufed themtelves with the 
letter, and fearched no further. 

In this fenfe ^yfiig«)> is ufed in thefe words : The myftery of 
the feven ftors which thou f awe ft in rny right hand^ and the f even 
golden candl.flicks. The fven flats are the angels of the fevcTi 
churches, and the feven candieftirks ore the feven churches^ Rev. 
i. 20. Again, in the fame bo<.'k : / will tell thee the myjtery of 
the woman^ and of the heajl that canicth her, &:c. Rev. xvii. 7. 
There is only one other paffage, to which this meaning of the v.ord 
is adapted, and on which 1 fliall have occaiion to remark after- 
wards *. This is a great myftery, but 1 fpeak concerning Chrift 
and the church, Eph. v. 32. Nor is it any objedtion to this inter- 
pretation of the word myftery here, that the Apoftle alluded not to 
any fidion, but to an hiltorical fad, the formation of Eve out of 
the body of Adam her hufband. For, though there is no neceffity 
that the flory which fupplies us with the body of the parable or 
allegory (if I may fo exprefs myfelf ), be ]i::ei ally true ; there is, 
on the other hand, no neceility that it be falfe. Paflagei of true 

hi (lory 
* Diff. X, Part III. § 9. 

D 1 S S E R T A T I IT S. 3-3 

hiftory are fometimes allegorized by the facred penmen. Witnefs 
the itorj of Abraham and his two fons, Ifaac by his \vife Sarah, 
and Ifhmael by his bondwoman Hagar, of which the Apoftle has 
made an allegory for reprefenting the comparative natures of the 
Mofaic difpenfation and the Chrillian, Gal. iv. 22, &c. 

^ 8. As to the pailage quoted from the Epiftle to the Ephe- 
lians, let it be obferved, that the '.vord ft-jnoiov is there rendered, 
in the Vulgate Jacramenti^in. Although this Latin word was 
long ufed very indefinitely, by ecclcfiafticai writers, it came, at 
length,^ with the more judicious, to acquire a meaning more pre- 
cife and fixed. Firmilian calls Noah's ark the facrament of the 
church of Chrilt*. It is manifeft, from the illultration he fub- 
joins, that he means the fymboi, type, or emblem, of the church ; 
alluding to an cxpreiiion of the x\poitle Peter, 1 Ep. iii. 20, 21. 
This may, on a fuperficiai view, be thought nearly coincident 
with the feccnd fenfe of the word f4.-jr<^iov above affigned. But, 
in faft, it is rather an inverfion of it. it is not, in Scripture lan- 
guage, the type that is called the myjtery^ but the antitype ; noi 
the fign, in any figurative fpeech or action, but the thing fignifi- 
cd. It would, therefore, have correfponded better to tlitr import 
of the Greek word, to fay, '*■ The chnrch of Chri;! is the facra- 
" ment of Noah's ark;" t« /t4vsT;e<«y, the fecret antitype, which 
that veflel, deflined for the falvation of the chofen few, from the 
deluge, was intended to adumbrate. This ufe, however, not 
uncommon among the fathers of the third century, has given rife 
to the definition of a facrament, as the vifible fign of an invijible 
grace ; a definition to which fome regard has been paid by molt 
parties, Proteftant as well as Ronriilh. 

j 9. But to return to fivsr.^ton ; it is plain that the earlieft per- 
verfion of this word, from its genuine and original fenfe ( a fe- 
cret. or fomething concealed^ was in makino" it to denote fome 
folemn and facred ceremony. Ncr is it difficult to point our the 
caufes that would naturally bring ecclefiaftic writers to employ 
it in a fenfe, which has fo clofe an affinity to a common applica- 
tion of the word in profane authors. Among the different cere- 
monies employed by the heathen, in their idolatrous fuperlfitions, 
fome were public and performed in the open courts, or in thofe 
parts of the temples to which all had accefs ; others were more 
fecretly performed in places from which the crov\'d was carefitlly 
excluded. To affift, or even be prefent at thefe, a fele(5l number 
only was admitted, to each of whom a formal and folemn initia- 
tion was neceflary. Thefe fecret rites, on account of this very 
circumftance, their fecrecy, were generally denominated v.yfteries. 
They were different, according to what was thought agreeable 
to the difl'erent deities, in whofe honour they were celebrated. 
Thus they had the myfteries of Ceres, the mylteries of Profer- 

* Cyp. Epift. 75. in fome editiciis 45. 


pine, the myfterles of Bacchus, Sic. Now there were fome 
things in the Chriftiau worlhip, which, though cflentially diffe- 
rent from all Pagan rites, had as much refemblance in this cir- 
cumflance, the exclufion of the multitude, as would give fuffi- 
cient handle to the heathen, to llyle them the Chriitian mylte- 

§ 10. Probably the term would be firft applied only to what 
was called in the primitive church, the tuchurijt^ which we call 
the Lord's /upper ; and afterwards extended to bupiism and other 
facred ceremonies. In regard to the firft mentioned ordinance, it 
cannot be denied, that in the article of concealment, there was a 
pretty clofe analogy. Not only were all infidels, both Jews and 
Gentiles, excluded from witneiTing tlie coamiemoration of the 
death of Chrill ; but even many believers, particularly the cate- 
chumens and the penitents ;'the former, becaufe not yet initiated 
by baptifm into the church ; the latter, becaufe not yet reftored 
to the communion of Chrifliauc, after having fallen into fomc 
fcandalous fin. Befidcs, the fecrccy that Chriftians were often, 
on account of the perfecutions to which they were expofed, 
obliged to oblerve, whigh made them meet for fecial worfhip in 
the night- time, or very early in the morning, would naturally 
draw on their ceremonies, from the Gentiles, the name of my- 
fteries. A.n<i it is not unreslonable to think, that a name which 
had its rife among their enemies, might afterwards be adopted by 
themfelves. The name Chriftians^ fiift ufed at Antioch, feems, 
from the manner wherein it is mentioned in the Acls, ch.xi. 26. 
to have been at firft given contemptuoufly to the difciples by in- 
fidels, and not affumed by themfelves. The common titles by 
which, for many years after thiit period, they continued to dif- 
tinguifti thofe of their own fociety, as we learn both from the 
Afts, and from Paul's EpiiUes, were the faithful, or believers, 
t^^ difciples^ and the brethren. Yet, before the expiration of the 
apoftolic age, they adopted the name Chriftiau^ and gloried in it. 
The Apoftle Peter ufes it in one place, i Ep. iv. 16. the only 
olace in Scripture wherein it is ufed by one of themfelv-s. Some 
other words and phrafes which became falhionable amongft eccle- 
fiaftic writers, might naturally enough be accounted for in the 
fame manner. 

§ II. But how the Greek ^v^ft^m caone firft to be tranflated 
into Latin facramentum^ it is not eafy to conjecture. None of 
the claflical fignifications of the Latin word feems to have any 
affinity to the Greek term. For whether vve underftand it fim- 
ply for a facred c^v^mony ^ facramentum froiT, facrare^ as jura- 
mentum from jurare^ or for the pledge depofited by the litigants 
in a procefs, to enfure obedience to the award of the judge, or 
for the military oath of fidelity, none of thefe conveys to us ei- 
ther of the fenfes of the word («ys-»»»«y explained above. At the 



iixna time it is not denied that in the claffical import, the Latin 
word may admit an alhifive application to the more fclemn or* 
dinances of religion, as implying in the participants a facred en- 
gagement equivalent to an oath. All that 1 here contend for, is 
that the 'Latin word facramentixm does not, in any of thefe fenfes, 
convey exaclly the meaning of the Greek name K-jr/, whofe 
place it occupies in the Vulgate. Houbigant, a Romilt priefl, 
has, in his Latin tranflation of the Old Teftament, ufed neither 
facramentum nor myfterium ; but where either of thefe terms had 
been employed in the Vulgate he {uh^iinits ficretum^ arcanum^ 
or abfconditum. Erafmus, though he wrote at an earlier period, 
has only once admixicd facramentum into his verlion of the New 
Teftament, and faid with the Vulgate facramentum feptem fteU 

Now it is to this praclice, not eafily accounted for, in the Old 
Xatin tranflators, that we owe the ecclefiarilcal Xtxva facrament^ 
which, though not fcriptural, even Proteftants have not thought 
fit to rejeft : they have only confined it a little in the apphca- 
tion, ufing it folely of the two primary inftitutions of the Gof- 
pel, baptifm and the LorcCs fupper ; whereas the Romanilfs ap- 
ply it alfo to five other ceremonies, in all feven. Yet even this 
application is not of equal latitude with that wherein it is ufed 
in the Vulgate. The lacrament of God's will, Eph.i. 9. the 
facrament of piety, 1 Tim. iii. 16. the facrament of a dream, 
Dan. ii. 18. 30. 47. the facrament of the fcven liars, Rev. i. 20. 
and the facrament of the woman. Rev. xvii. 7. are phrafes which 
found very ftrangely in our ears. 

'^ 1%. So much for the introduAion of the i^rm facrament in- 
to the Chriftian theology, which (however convenient it maybe 
for expreiEng fome important rites of our religion), has, in none 
of the places where it occurs in the Vulgate, a reference to any 
rite or ceremony whatever, but is always the verfion of the 
Greek word fivr^t^'', or the correfponding term in Hebrew or 
Chaldee. Now the term |«wr»^/6», as has been Ihown, is always 
predicated of fome doftrine, or of fome matter of faft wherein it 
is the intention of the writer to denote that the information he 
gives either was a fecret formerly, or is the latent meaning of 
fume type, allegory, figurative defcription, dream, vifion, or ta6l 
referred to. No religion abounded more in pompous rit«3 and 
ordinances than the Jewifh, yet they are never, in Scripture, 
(any more than the ceremonies of the New Teflament) de lomi- 
nated either myfteries or facraments. Indeed with us Protef- 
tants, the meanings in prefent ufe affigned to thefe two words, 
are fo totally diitinc^, the one relating folely to doftrine, the 
other folely to poficive inft itutions, that it may look a little odd- 
ly t J bring them together, in the difcuilion of the fame critical 
queftion. But to thofe who are acquainted with Chriilian anti- 

VoL. I, Q^q quity, 


qiiity, and foreign ufe in thefe matters, or have been accuftomed 
to the Vulgate tranflalion, there will be no occafion for an apo- 

§ 13. Before I finifh this topic, it is proper to take notice of 
one paflage wherein the word i^v?-y.^ioy^ it may be plaufib^y urged, 
muft have the fame fenfe with that which prefent ufe gives to the 
Englilli word myftery^ and denote fomething which, though reveal- 
ed, is inexplicable, and, to human faculties, unintelligible. The 
words are, Without controversy great is the mystery of godliness : 
God ivas manifest in the fii^Jh^ justified tn the spirit ^ seen of an' 
gels^ preached unto the Gentiles, believed on in the worlds received 
up into glory, I Tim. iii. 16. I do not here enquire into the 
juflnefs of this reading, though differing from that of the two 
moft ancient verfions, the Syriac and the Vulgate, and fome of 
the oldefl manufcripts. The words, as they Itand, fufficiently 
anfwer my purpofe. Admit then that fome of the great articles 
enumerated may be juftly called myfleries, in the ecclefiaflical 
and prefent acceptation of the term ; it does not follow that this 
is the fenfe of the term here. When a word in a fentence of 
holy writ is fufceptible of two interpretations, fo that the fen- 
tence, whichfoever of the two ways the word be interpreted, 
conveys a diftinft meaning fuitable to the fcope of the place ; 
and when one of thefe interpretations exprefles the common im- 
port of the word in holy writ, and the other afligns it a meaning 
which it plainly has not in any other paflage of Scripture, the 
rules of criticifm manifeflly require that we recur to the common 
acceptation of the term. Nothing can vindicate us in giving it 
a lingular, or even a very uncommon fignification, but that all 
the more ufual meanings would make the fentence involve fome 
abfurdity or nonfenfe. This is not the cafe here. The purport 
of the fentence plainly is *' Great unqueftionably is the divine 
*' fecret, of which our religion brings the difcovery ; God was 
♦' manifefl in the flefh, &c." 


Of Blasphemy. 

X PROPOSED, in the fecond place, to offer a few thoughts on the 
import of the word /ixxcnpttutx^ frequently tranflated blasphemy. 
I am far from affirming that in the prefent ufe of the Englifh 
word, there is fuch a depai-ture from the import of the original, 
as in that remarked in the preceding article, between ttvr»§/«v and 

mystery 1 


mystery : at the fame time it is proper to obferve, that in moft 
tafes there is not a perfect coincidence. BA«5-<p»^-«a properly de- 
notes calumny, detraBion^ reproachful or abufive language^ againft. 
whomfoever it be vented. There does not feem, therefore, to 
have been any neceflity for adopting the Greek word into our 
language, one or other of the Englifli expreffions above mention- 
ed, being, in every cafe, fufficient for conveying the fenfe. Here, 
as in other inllances, we have, with other moderns, implicitly fol- 
lowed the Latins, who had in this no more occafion than we, tor 
a phrafeology not originally of their own growth. To have uni^ 
formly tranflated, and not transferred, the words /ixa<r(pnuici and 
,SXxB-(ptiuuv, would have both contributed to perfpicuity, and tended 
to deteiil the abufe of the terms when wrefted from their proper 
meaning- That i3?.xs-(py,iiiic. and its conjugates are in the New Tcl- 
tament very often applied to reproaches not aimed againft God, is 
evident from the foUovving paflages : Matt. xii. 31, 32. xxvii. 39. 
Mark XV. 29. Lukexxii. 65. xxiii. 39. Rom. iii. 8. xiv. 16. £ 
Cor. iv. 13. X. 3c. Eph. iv. 31. Tit. iii. 2. i Pet. 
iv. 4. 14. Jude 9. le. A6ls vi. 11. 13. 2 Pet. ii ic, 11. ; iu the 
much greater part of which the Englifh tranllators, fetifible that 
they could admit no fuch application, have not ufed the words 
blaspheme or blasphemy ^ but rail, revile, speak eviL &c. In one 
of the paflages quoted, a reproachful charge brought even agamft 
the devil, is called x|«5-<5 fiXas-^yifuxg, Jude 9. and rendered by them 
railing accusation. That the word in fome other places (Ac^s 
xiii.45. xviii.6. xxvi.ii. Col. iii. 8. iTim.i. 13. 2 Tim. 
iii. 2.) ought to have been rendered in the fame general terms, I 
Ihall afterw-ards Ihow. But with refpeft to the principal point, 
that the word comprehends all verbal abufe, againft whomfoever 
uttered, God, angel, man, or devil ; as it is univerfally admitted 
by the learned, it would be lofing time to attempt to prove. 
The paffb'-es referred to will be more than iufficient 10 ail who 
can read them m the original Greek. 

§ 2. But it deferves our notice, and it is priccipa'ly for this 
reafon that I judged it proper to make fome remarks on the word, 
that even when (iXua-p-^Lutx, refers to reproach rul fpeeches again 11 
God, and fo comes nearer the meaning of our word blafphemy ; 
ftill the primitive notion of this crime has undergone a confidera- 
ble change in our way of conceiving it. The caufes it would 
not perhaps be difficult to inveiligate, but the effedt is undenia- 
ble. In theological difputes nothing is more common, to the 
great fcandal of the Chriftian name, than the imputation of blaf- 
phemy thrown by each fide upon the other. The injuftice of 
the charge on both fides will be manifeft on a little refledlion, 
which it is the more neceflary to beftow, as the commonnefs of 
the accufation, and the latent, but contagious, motives of em- 
ploying it, have gradually perverted our conceptions of the thing. 

§ 3- 


§ 3. It has been remarked already, that the import of the word 
(iXxTpyif^tct. is maledicentia^ in the largeft acceptation, comprehend- 
ing all forts of verbal abufe, imprecation, reviling, and calumny. 
Now let it be obfer%'ed, that when fuch abufe is mentioned as 
uttered againft God, there is properly no change made on the 
lignification of the word ; the change is only in the application, 
that is. in the reference to a different object. The idea convey- 
ed in the explanation now given is always included, againft whom- 
foever the crime be committed. In this manner every term is 
underflood that is applicable to both God and man. Thus the 
meaning of the word dijohey is the fame, whether we fpeak of 
difobeying God or of difobeying man. The fame may be faid 
of believe, honour, fear, &.C. As therefore the fenft of the term 
is the fame, though differently applied, what is effential to con- 
llitute the crime of detraiSlion in the one cafe, is effential alfo in 
the other. But it is effential to this crime as commonly under- 
llood, when committed by one man againft another, that there be 
in the injurious perfon the will or difpofition to detrafl from the 
perfon abufed. Mere miftake in regard to charafler, efpecialiy 
when the miftake is not conceived by him who entertains it, to 
leffen the charafter, nay, is fuppofed, however erroneoufly, to 
exalt it, is never conftrued by any into the crime of defamation. 
Now, as blafphemy is, in its effence, the fame crime, but im- 
menfcly aggravated, by being committed againft an objeft infi- 
nitely fuperior to man, what is fundamental to the very exiftence 
of the crime, will be found in this, as in every other fpecies, 
which comes under the general name. There can be no blaf- 
phemy, therefore, where there is not an impious purpofe to de- 
rogate from the divine majcfty, and to alienate the minds of 
others from the love and reverence of God. 

§ 4. Hence, we muft be fenfible of the injuftice of fo frequent- 
ly ufing the odious epithet htafphemous in our coniroverlial wri- 
tings ; an evil imputable foiely to the malignity of temper, wliich 
a habit of fuch difputatioii rarely fails to produce. Hence it is, 
that the Arminian and the Calvinill, the Arian and the Athana- 
fian, the Proteftant and the Papift, the Jefuit and the Janfenift, 
throw and retort on each other the unchriftian reproach. Yet it 
is no more than juftice to fay, that each of thedifputanrs is fo far 
from intending to diminilb, in the opinion of others, the honour 
of the Almighty, that he is, on the contrary, fully convinced, 
that his own principles are better adapted to raife it than thofe of 
his antagonift, and, for that very reafon, he is fo ftrenuous in 
maintaining them. But to blacken, as much as poffible, the de- 
figns of an adverfary, in order the more cffeftually to render his 
opinions liateful, is one of the many common, but deteftable re- 
fources of theological controvertifts. It is to be hoped that the 
fcnfe, not only of the injuftice of this meafure, but of its inefti- 



cacy for producing conviction in the mind of a reafonable anta- 
gor;lll, and of the bad impreffioa it tends to make on the impar- 
tial and jadicious, in regard both to the arguers and to the ar- 
o-umtnt. will at length induce men to adopt iBore candid me- 
thods of managing their difputes ; and even, when provoked by 
the calumnious and angry epithets of an oppofer, not to think of 
retaliating ; but to remember, that they will derive more honour 
from imitating, as is their duty, the conduct of Him who, when 
* he was reviled, reviled not again, 

$ ^. But, after obferving that this perverfion of the word hlaf- 
phemy refults, for the moft part, from the intemperate heat and 
violence with which polemic writers manage their religious con- 
tells ; it is no more than doing juftice to theologians and ecclefi- 
aflics, though it may look like a digreiTion, to remark that this 
evidence of undue acrimony is by no means peculiar to them. 
So uncontrolable is this propenfity in men of violent paflions, 
that even fceptics cannot pretend an entire exemption from it. 
Some allowances ought doubtlefs to be made for the rage of bi- 
gots inflamed by contradiftion, from the infinite confequence they 
always afcribe to their own religious dogmas ; but when a rca- 
foner, an enquirer into truth, and confequently a difpaffionate and 
unprejudiced perfon (as doubtlefs fuch a man as Bxjlingbrokc 
chofe to be accounted), falls into the fame abfurdity, adopts the 
furious language of fanaticifm, and rails againft thofe whofe the- 
ory he combats, calling them impious blafphemers, to what al- 
lowance can we juftly think him entitled ? I know of none, ex- 
cept our pity, to which indeed a manner fo much beneath the 
dignity of the philofopher, and unbecoming the patience and felf- 
command implied in cool inquiry, feems to give him a reafona- 
ble claim. Since, however, with tliis defeat of difcernment, can- 
dour and moderation, philofophers as well as zealots, infidels as 
well as fanatic?, and men of the world as well ^1: priefts, are 
fometimes chargeable, it may not be unreafonable to bellow a 
few refieftions on it. 

§ 6. Firft, to recur to analogy and the reafon of the thing : i 
believe there are few who have nor fometimes had occafion to 
hear a man warmly, and with the very bed intentions, ccmmena 
another, for an action which in reality merited not praife, but 
blame. Yet no man would call the perfon who, through (imph- 
city, afted this part, a flanderer, whether the fa£t he related of 
his friend were true or falfe, fince he ferioufly meant to raife 
efteem of him ; for an intention to depreciate, is effential to tlu- 
idea of flander. To praife injudicioufly is one thing, to ilander 
is another. The former perhaps will do as much hurt to the 
charafter, which is the fubjeft of it, as the latter ; but the merit 
of human actions depends entirely on the motive. There is a 
malicioufnefs in the calumniator, which no perfon who reflects is 



in danger of confounding with the unconfcious blundt:rir.g of a man 
whofe praife dctratls from the perfjn whom he means to honour. 
The blafphemer is no other than the calumniator of Almighty 
God. To conllitute the crime, it is as neceffary that this fpecies 
of calumny be intentional, as that the other be. He mull be 
one, theref.ore, who by his impious talk endeavours to iafpirc 
others with tlie fame irreverence towards the Deity, or perhaps 
abhorrence ofhim, which he indulges in himfelf. And though, 
for the honour of human nature, it is to be hoped that very few 
arrive at this enormous guilt, it ought not to be dilTembled, that 
the habitual profanation of the name and attributes of God, by 
common fweanng, is but too inanifeR an approach towards it. 
There is not an entire coiiiciJeice. The latter of ihele vices 
n:iay be confidered as refalting folely from the dcfcfl of what is 
good in principle and difpolition ; the former, from the acquifition 
of what is evil in the extreme : but there is a clofe connexion 
between them, and an infenlible gradation from the one to the 
other. To accuflom one's felf to treat the Sovereign of the uni- 
verfe with irreverent familiarity, is the firfl ftep ; malignly to 
arraign his attributes, and revile his providence, is the lad. 

§ 7. But it maybe faid, that an inquiry into the proper notion 
of /S>.af5-^j)jt6<«, in the facred writings, is purely a matter of criti- 
cifm, concerning the import of a word, whofe fignification mull 
be uldmately determined by fcriptural ufe. Our reafonings, 
therefore, are of no validity, unlefs thc'y are fap ported by facU 
True 5 bat it ought to be conlidered, on the other hand, that as 
the word /3A9:cr<p>ittE<»r, when men are the objefts, is manifeilly ufed 
for intentional abufe, the prefumption is, that the fignification is 
the fame, when God is the cbjeft. Nay, according to the rules 
of criticifm, it is evidence fufficient, unlefs a pofitive proof could 
be brought, that the word, in this application, undergoes a change 
of meaning. In the prefent inftance, however, it is unneceffary 
to recur to the prefumption, as pofitive teflimony can be produ- 
ced, that both the verb and the noun have the fame meaning in 
thefe different applications. 

§ 8. Let it be obferved then that fometimes, in the fame {cn- 
tence, the word is applied in common both to divine and to hu- 
man beings, which are fpecihed as the obje61s, and conflrued 
with it, and fometimes the word, having been applied to one of 
thefe, is repeated in an application to the other ; the facred writers 
thereby fliewing, that the evil is the fame in kind in both cafes, 
and that the cafes are uiforiminated folely by the dignity of the 
objeft. Thus our Lord fays. ?-s in the common tranflation, j4Ii 
manner of hlafphemy, Trtttrx (i>.x!r(, ppall he forgiven unto men : 
hut the hlafphemy against the Holy GhoH fjjall not he forgiven^ 
Matt. xii. 31. (See the palTage in this Tranflation, and the note 
upon it.) The difference in point of atrocioufnefs is here ex- 


ceedingly grest, the one being reprefented as unpardonable, and 
the other as what may be pardoned ; bnt this is exhibited as re- 
fulting purely from the infinite difparity of the obje6ls. The 
application of the fame name to the two crimes compared, gives 
us to underftand the immenfe difproportion there is, in refpeft of 
guilt, between the fame criminal behaviour, when aimed againft 
our fellow- creatures, and when directed againil the Author of 
our being. As the Englilh word htafphemy is not of the fame 
extent of fignification with the Greek, and is not properly ap- 
plied to any abufe vented againft man, it would have been bftter 
here to have chofen a common term which would liave admitted 
equally an application to either, fuch as Jlander or detroBion. 
The expreffion of the evangeliil Mark, in the parallel place, 
Mark iii. 28, 29. is to the fame purpofe. Again, iii the Acts, 
IVe have hsard him fpecik hlafphemous words, ^r>At«T2< /SAatorf •/./»«:, 
agawji Mofes and again/} God^ Ads vi. ii. Like to this is that, 
pafla^e in the Old Teitament, where the falfe witnefTes who were 
luborned to teftify againft Naboth fay, Thou didji hlafpheme Cod 
and the kiug^ i Kings xxi. 10. Though the word in the Septua- 
gint ig not ^X*r;pnfiuyy it is a term which, in that verfion, is fomi- 
times ufed fyncnymoufly, as indeed are all the terms which in 
the original denote curjing^ reviling^ defaming. 

§ 9. Further, with the account given above, of the nature of 
hlajphemy^ the ftyle of Scripture perfectly agrees. No errors 
concerning the divine perfections can be groffer than thofe of po- 
lytheills and idolaters, fuch as the ancient pagans. Errors on 
this, if on any fubje6t, are furely fundamental. Yet thofe errors 
are never in holv writ brought under the denomination of blaf- 
phemy ; nor are thofe who maintain them ever ftylcd blafphe- 
mers. Nay, among thofe who are no idolaters, but acknowledge 
the unity and fpirituality of the divine nature, as did all the Jew- 
ifh fedts, it is not iufficient to conftitute this crime, that a Iran's 
opinions be, in their confequences, derogatory from the divine 
majefty, if they be not perceived to be fo by him who holds 
them, and broached on purpofe to diminilh men's veneration of 
God. The opinions of the Sadducees appear in effedt to have 
detrafted from the juftice, the goodnefs, and even the power of 
the Deity, as their tendency was but too manifeflly to diminilh 
in men the fear of God, and confequently to weaken their obli- 
gations to obey him. Yet neither our Saviour, nor any of the 
infpired writers, calls them hlafphemous, as thofe opinions did 
not appear to themfelves to detract, nor were advanced with the 
intention of dctra£ting from the honour of God. Our Lord only 
faid to the Sadducees, le err, not knowing the Scriptures nor the 
power of God, Matt xxil 19. Nay, it does not appear that 
even their advcrfaries the Pharifees, though the Srft who feem to 
have perverted the word (as fhall be remarked afterwards), and 



though immoderately attached to their own tenets, ever reproach- 
ed them as blafphemers, on account of their erroneous opinions. 
Nor is indeed the epithet blafphemous, or any fynonymous term, 
ever coupled in Scripture, as is common in modern ufe, with 
do6irines, thoughts, opinions. It is never applied but to words 
and fpeeches. A blafpbemous opinion, or blafphemous doBrine^ 
are phrafes, which (how familiar foever to us) are as unfui table 
to the fcriptural idiom, as a railing opinion, ox Jlanderous doBrine, 
is to ours. 

§ 10. But to proceed from what is not, to wliat is, called blaf- 
phemy in Scripture ; the firil divine law publifhed againft ir, He 
that blajphemeth the name of the Lord, (or Jehovah, as it is in 
the Hebrew)yZ>fl// be put to death^ Lev. xxiv. i6. when confider- 
ed, along with, the incident that occafioned it, fuggefts a very 
atrocious offence in words, no lefs than abufe or imprecations 
vented againft the Deity. For, :n what way foever the crime 
of the man there mentioned bu interpreted, whether as commit- 
ted againll the true God, the God of Ifrae), or againd any of the 
falfe gods whom his Egyptian father worftiipped, the law in the 
words now quoted is fufficiently explicit ; and the circumftances 
of the flory plainly fuew, that the words which he had ufed 
were derogatory from the Godhead, and fhocking to the hear- 

And if v.'e add to this, the only other memorable inflance, in 
facred hiflory, namely chat of Rabfhakeh, it will lead us to con- 
clude that it is folely a malignant attempt, in words, to leffen 
men's reverence of the true God, and, by vilifying his perfec- 
tions, to prevent their placing confidence in him, which is called 
in Scripture blafphemy, when the word is employed to denote a 
fin committed directly againft God. This v>*as manifeftly the at- 
tempt of Rabfhakeh when he faid, " Neither let Hezekiah make 
you truft in the Lord," (the word is Jehovah) " faying, Jeho- 
vah will furelv deliver us. Hath any of tlie gods of the nations 
delivered his land out of the hand of the king of AlTyria ? 
Where are the gods of Hamath and of Arpad ? Where are the 
gods of Sepharvaim, Hena, and Ivah ? Have they delivered Sa- 
mariah out of my hand ? Who are they among all the gods ot 
the countries, that have delivered their country out of mine hand, 
that Jehovah fliould deliver Jerufalem out of mine hand ?" 
2 Kings xviii. 30. ^t,^ 34, ^S- ^ 

§11. Blafphemy, 1 acknowledge, like every other fpecies of 
defamation, may proceed from ignorance combined with raflmefs 
and prefumption ; but it invariably implies (which is not im- 
plied in mere error) an exprefTion of contempt or deteftation, 
and a defire of producing the fame paflions in others. As this 
condudl, however, is more heinous in the knowing than in the 
ignorant, there are degrees of guilt even in blafphen:iy. God's 


name is laid to be blafphemed among the heathen, through the 
icandalous conducl of his worlhippers. And when Nathan faid 
to David, Bv this deed thou haft given occafion to the enemies of 
Jehovah to blafpheme, 2 Sam. xii. 14. his defign was evidently 
to charge on that monarch a confiderable Ihare of the guilt o£ 
thofe blafphemies to which his heinous tranfgreflion in the mat- 
ter of Uriah would give rife, among their idolatrous neighbours j 
for here, as in other cafes, the flagrant iniquity of the fervant, 
rarely fails to bring reproach on the mafter, and on the fervice. 
It is, without doubt, a moll flagitious kind of blafphemy where- 
of thofe men are guilty who, inilead of being brought to repen- 
tance by the plagues wherewith God vifits them for their fins, 
are fired with a monftrous kind of revenge againft their Maker, 
which they vent in vain curfes and impious reproaches. Thus, 
in the Apocalypfe, we are informed of thofe who blafpherned ti^ 
God of heaven^ becaufe of their pains and their fores ^ and repent- 
ed not of their deeds. Rev. xvi. 11. 

§ 12. It will perhaps be objeded, that even the infpired pen- 
men of the New Teftament fometimes ufe the word with greater 
latitude than has here been given it. The Jews are faid, by the 
facred hiflorian, to have fpoken againji the things preached by 
Paul., contradiBing and blafpheming, Acls xiii. 45. And it is 
faid of others of the fame nation, When they oppofed themfehes 
and blafphemed, xviii.6. Now, as zeal for God and religion 
was the conftant pretext of the Jews for vindicating their oppofi- 
tion to Chriltianity, it cannot be imagined they would have 
thrown out any thing like direct blafphemy or reproaches againft 
God. It may therefore be plaufibly urged, that it muft have 
been (if we may borrow a term from the law) fuch conftru6tive 
blafphemy, as when we call fundamental errors in things divnne, 
by that odious name. But the anfwer is eafy. It has been 
{hewn already, that the Greek word implies no more than to re- 
vile^ defame, or give abufive language. As the term is general, 
and equally applicable, whether God be the objevi of the abufe, 
or man, it ought never to be rendered blafpheme., unlefs when the 
contest manifellly reftrains it to the former application. There 
is this advantage, if the cafe were dubious, in preferving the ge- 
neral term, that if God be meant as the objeft of their reproaches. 
Hill the verfion is juit. In the ftory of the fon of the Ifraelitifli 
woman, the terms curfng God and blafpheming him. Lev. xxiv. 
II. 14. are ufed fynonymonfly ; and, in regard to Rablhakeh's 
blafphemy, the phrafes, to reproach the living God or fihovah^ 
and to blafpheme him, 2 Kings xix. 4. x6. 22. 23. are both ufed 
in the fame way ; but, on the other hand, if the writer meant 
abufe levelled againft men, to render it blafpheme is a real mif- 
tranflation, inafmuch as, by reprefenting the divine Majefly as 

Vol. I. R r the 


the objeft, which the Englifh word hlafpheme always docs, tlie 
fenfe is totally altered. 

Our tranflators have, on other occafions, been fo fenfible of this, 
that in none of the places marked in the niargin * have they 
ufed blafpheme, or any of its conjugates ; but, inftead of it, the 
words razV, revile, report Jlanderoujly^fpeak evil^ defame^ though 
the word in the original is the fame, nay, in fome places, where 
Jefus Chrift is the objefl, they tranflate it in the fame manner, 
Matt, xxvii. 39. Mark XV. 29. Luke xxiii. 39. There can be 
no doubtj that in the two paffages quoted from the A6ls, the 
apoftles themfelves were the obje£ls of the abufe which fiery 
zeal prompted their countrymen to throw out againft the propa- 
gators of a doclrine confidered by them as fubverlive of the reli- 
gion of their fathers. Both pailages are jultly rendered by Ca- 
^lio ; the firft, " Judaei contradicebant iis quae a Paulo diceban- 
*^tur, reclamantes ac conviciantes ;" the fecond, " Quumque 
*' illi refifterent ac maledicerent." 

§ 1 3. The fame will ferve for anfwer to the objedlion founded on 
Paul's faying of himfelf before his converfion that he was a blaf- 
phemer, 1 Tim. i. 13. the word ought to have been rendered rff/a- 
mer. Of this we can make no doubt, when we confider the honour- 
able teftimony which this apoftle, after his converfion, did not he- 
fitate to give of his own piety when a Jew, Brethren, faid he, / 
have lived in all good confcierice before God (rather towards God, 
TO) ©w, not imTticv Ts 0=a) until this day. Ads xxiii. I. This ex- 
preflion, therefore, regards what is fti-i£lly called duty to God, 
But could he have made this declaration, if his confcience had 
charged him with blafphemy, of all crimes againft God the moft 
heinous ? Should it be alked, In what fenfe could he charge him« 
felf with defamation ? Whom did he defame ? The anfwer is 
obvious. Not only the Lord Jefus Chrift the head, but the 
members alfo of the Chriftian community, both minifters and 
difciples. Not that he confidered himfelf as guilty of this crime 
by implication, for dift)elieving that Jefus is the Meflsiah ; for 
neither Jews nor Pagans are ever reprefented as either blafphe- 
mers or calumniators, merely for their unbelief; but becaufe he 
was confcious that his zeal had carried him much further, even 
to exhibit the author of this inftitution as an impoftor and falfe 
prophet, and his apoftles as his accomplices, in malicioufly irapo- 
fing upon the nation, and fubverting the true religion. That he 
adled this part, the account given of his proceedings, not to men- 
tion this declaration, affords the moft ample evidence. We are 
told that he breathed out threatenings and flaughter againft the 
difciples, Afts ix. i.; and he fays himfelf, that he was exceed- 

* Rom. iii. 8. xiv. 6. i Cor. iv. 13. x. 30, Eph. iv. 31. 1 Tim. vi. 4. 
Tit. iii. 2. I Pet. iv. 4. 14. i Pet. ii. ic, ii. Jude, 9, 10. 


ingly mad againft them, and even compelled them to join in the 
abufe and reproaches, (A6lsxxvi. 11. J of which he accufes hiro- 
felf as fetting the example. And though I doubt not tliat in 
this, Paul afted according to his judgment of things at the time, 
for he tells us exprefslj that he thought verily with himfelf that 
he ought to do many things contrary to the name of Jefus, Ads 
xx\'i. 9. this ignorance did indeed extenuate his crime, but not 
excufe it ; for it is not he only who invents, but he alio who 
malignantly and raflily, or without examination and fufficient 
evidence, propagates an evil report againft his neighbour, who 
is jullly accounted a defamer. 

Nor is the above-mentioned the only place wheiein the word 
has been milinterpreted hlajphemer. We have another example, 
in the charadler which the fame apoftle gives of fome feducers 
who Vv'cre to appear in the church, and of Avhom he tells us, 
that they would have a form of godl'inefs^ but without the power y 
2 Tim. iii. 5. Now, blafphemy is alike incompatible with both, 
though experience has fhewn, in all ages, that flander and abufe 
vented againft men, however inconfiftent with the power of god- 
linefs, are perfe£tly compatible with its form. Some other 
places in the New Teftament, in which the word ought to have 
been tranflated in its greateft latitude, that is, in the fenfe of de- 
famation, or reviling in general, are marked in the margin *. In- 
deed, as was hinted before, it ought always to be fo, unlefs where 
the fcope of the paffage limits it to that impious defamation, 
whereof the Deity is the objeft. 

§ 14. I know but one other argument that can be drawn from 
Scripture, in favour of what I call the controverfial fenfe of the 
word blafphemy, that is, as applied to errors, which, in their 
confequences, may be thought to derogate from the perfections 
or providence of God. In this way the Pharifees, oftener than 
.once, employ the term againft our Lord ; and, if their authority 
were to us a fufficient warrant, I fhould admit this plea to be de- 
cifive. But the queftion of importance to us is. Have we the 
authority of any of the facrcd writers for this application of the 
word? Did our Lord himfelf, or any of his apoftles, ever retort 
this charge upon the Pharifees ? Yet it cannot be denied, that 
the doftrine then in vogue with them gave, in many things, if 
this had been a legitimate ufe of the term blafphemy^ a fair han- 
dle for fuch recrimination. They made void, we are told, the 
commandment of God, to make room for their tradition. Matt. 
XV. 6. Mark vii. 13. and thus, in effeft, fet up their own autho- 
rity in oppofition to that of their Creator. They difparaged the 
moral duties of the law, in order to exalt pofitive and ceremo- 

* Matt. xii. 31. XV. 19. Maik iii. aS, 29. vii. 22. Luke xxii. 65. Col- 
iii. S. James ii. 7. 


nial obfervances, Matt, xsiii. 23. Luke xL 42. Now this cannot 
be done by the teachers of religion, without fome mifreprefenta- 
tion of the moral attributes of the Lawgiver, whofe charader is 
thereby degraded in the minds of the people. Yet there is no- 
where the mofl diftant infinuation given that, on any of thefe ac- 
counts, they were liable to the charge of blafphemy. 

But no fooner did Jefus fay to the paralytic, Thyjins are for- 
given thee, than the Scribes laid hold of the exprelTion. This 
man hlafphemeih, faid they ; ix^ho can forgive fins hut God ? 
Matt. ix. 3. Mark ii. 7. Their plea was, it is an invafion of the 
prerogative of God. Grotius obferves juftly of this application 
of the term, Dicitur hie /3Xx(7!py,uuv, non qui Dto maledicit, fed qui 
quod Dei ejl^fihi arrogat. Such undoubtedly was their notion of 
the matter. But I do not fee any warrant they had for thus 
extending the fignification of the word. In the fimple and pri- 
mitive import of the name blafphemer^ it could not be more per- 
feftly defined in Latin, than bv thefe three words, qui Deo male- 
dicit ; and therefore, I cannot agree with the generality of ex- 
pofitors, who feem to think, that if Jefus had not been the Mef- 
fiah, or authorized of God to declare to men the remilTion of 
their fins, the fcribes would have been right in their verdicl. On 
the contrary, if one, unauthorized of Heaven, had faid what our 
Lord is recorded to have faid to the paralytic, he would not, in 
my opinion, have been liable to that accufation ; he would have 
been chargeable with great prefumption, 1 acknowledge, and if 
he had been confcious that he had no authority, he would have 
been guilty of grofs impiety ; but every fpecies of impiety is 
not blafphemy. Let us call things by their proper names. If 
any of us ufurp a privilege that belongs exclufively to another 
man, or if we pretend to have his authority when we have it not, 
our conduft is very criminal ; but nobody would confound this 
crime with calumny. No more can the other be termed blaf- 
phem}', efpecially when it refults from mifapprehenfion, and is 
unaccompanied with a malevolent intention, either to depreciate 
the charadter, or to defeat the purpofe, of the Almighty. The 
falfe prophets, who knowingly told lies in the name of God, and 
pretended a commiflion from him, which they knew they had 
not, were liable to death ; but they are no where faid to blaf- 
pheme, that is, to revile, or to defame their Maker. Much lefs 
could it be faid of thofe who told untruths through miftake, and 
without any defign of detrafVing from God. 

This polemic application of the term blifpherry^ muft, there- 
fore have originated in the fchools of the rabbies, and appears to 
have been in the time of our Lord and his apoflles, in general 
vogue with the fcribes. Nay, which is exceedingly repugnant 
to the original import of the name, they even applied it to ex- 
preflions, the immediate objedl whereof is not perfons, but things. 



Thus, the hiftorian, in relating the charge brought againft Ste- 
plien, acquaints us, Acts vi. 13. that tbey Jet up falfe ivitnejjes, 
which [aid. This man ceofeth not to /peak hlafphemous words 
aoainji this holy place^ and the law : an application of the word, 
perhaps till then unexampled. But we need not wonder at this 
liberty, when we confider that the perverfion of the term an- 
fvvered for them a double purpofe ; firll, it afforded them one 
eatj expedient for rendering a perfon Avhom they difliked odious 
to the people, amongft whom the very fufpicion of blafphemj 
excited great abhorrence ; fecondiy, it increafed their own jurif- 
diclion. Blafphemy was a capital crime, the judgment whereof 
was in the fanhedrim, of whom the chief priells, and fome of 
the fcribes, always made the principal part. The farther the im- 
port of the w'ord was extended, the more cafes it brought under 
their cognizance, and the more perfons into their power. Hence 
it proceeded, that the word blafphemy^ which originally meant a 
crime no lefs than malicioufly reviling the Lord of the univerfe, 
was at length conftrued to imply the broaching of any tenet, or 
the expreffing of any fentiment (with whatever view it was 
done) which did not quadrate with the reigning dotlrine. For 
that dofirine, being prefuppofed to be the infallible will of God, 
whatever oppofed it was laid, by implication, to revile its Au- 
thor. Such will ever be the cafe, when the principles of human 
policy are grafted upon religion. 

§ 15. When we confider this, and remark, at the fame time, 
with what plainnefs our Lord condemned, in many particulars, 
both the maxims and the pra6lice of the Pharifees, we cannot be 
furprifed that, on more occafions than one, that vindictive and 
envious feft traduced him to the people, as a perfon chargeable 
with this infernal guilt. Once, indeed, fome of them proceeded 
fo far as to taie upjiones to Jtone him^ John x. 31. 33. : for that 
was the punifhment which the law had awarded againft blafphe- 
mers. But he thought proper then to elude their malice, and, 
by the anfwer he gave to their unmerited reproach, evidently 
fliowed that their application of the term was unfcriptural, John 
X. 34, 35, 36. Thofe who, on other occaiions, watched our Lord 
to entrap him in his words, feem to have had it principally in 
\iew to extradl either blafphemy or treafon from what he faid. 
By the firft, they could expofe him to the fury of the populace, 
or, perhaps, fubjetl him to the Jewifh rulers ; and, by the fe- 
cond, render him obnoxious to the Roman procurator. What 
ufe they made of both articles at laft, is known to every body. 
Nor let it be imagined that, at his trial, the circumftances, appa- 
rently flight, of the high.prieft's rending his clothes, when he 
pronounced him a blafphemer, an example which mui^ have been 
quickly followed by the whole fanhedrim, and all within hear- 
ings was not a matter of the utmoft confequence, for effeding 



their malicious purpofe. We have reafon to believe, that it 
contributed not a little, in working fo wonderful a change in the 
multitude, and in bringing them to view the man with detefta- 
tion, to whom fo fliort while before they were almoft ready to 
pay divine honours. 

^ 16. But here it may be alked, ' Can we not then fay, with 
* truth, of any of the falfe teachers, who have arifen in the 
' church, that they vented blafphemies ?' To affirin that we can- 
not, would, I acknowledge, be to err in the oppofite extreme. 
Juftia Martyr fays of Marcion *, that he taught many to blaf- 
pheme the Maker of the world. Now, it is impoflible to deny 
the juftice of this charge, if we admit the truth of what Ire- 
naeui t, and others, affirm concerning that bold berefiarch, to wit, 
that he maintained, that the author of our being, the God of If- 
rael, who gave the lav/ by Mofes, and fpoke by the Prophets, is 
one who perpetrates injuries, and delights in war, is fickle in his 
opinions, and inconliftent with himfeif. If this reprefentation 
of Marcion's dodlrine be juft, who would not fay that he reviled 
his Creator, and attempted to alienate from him the love and 
confidence of his creatures ? The blafphemy of Rablhakeh was 
aimed only againft the power of God ; Marcion's, not fo much 
againfl his power, as againil his wifdom and his goodnefs. Both 
equally manifelled an intention of fubverting the faith and ve- 
neration of his worfliippers. Now, it is only what can be called 
a direct attack, not fuch as is made out by implication, upon tiie 
perfections of the Lord of the univerfe, and what clearly difplays 
the intention of ieffening men's reverence of him, that is blaf- 
phemy, in the meaning (I fay not of the rabbles, or of the ca- 
nonifts, butj of the facred code. In lliort, fuch falfe and mju- 
rious language, as, when applied to men, would be denominated 
reviling, ahvfing^ defaming^ is, when applied to God, blafphemy. 
The fame terms in the original tongues are ufed for both ; and it 
would perhaps have been better, for preventing millakes, that in 
modern tongues alfo, the fame terms were employed. Indeed, if 
we can depend on the juflnefs of the accounts, which remain of 
the oldeft fedaries, there were fome who went greater lengths in 
this way than even Marcion. 

§ 17. Before I finilh this topic, it will naturally occur to en- 
quire, What that is, in particular, which our Lord denominates 
blafphemy againft the Holy Spirit ? Matt. xii. 31, 32. Mark iii. 
28,29. Luke xii. 10. It is foreign from my prefent purpofe, 
to enter minutely into the difcuffion of this difficult queflion. 
Let it fuffice here to obferve, that this blafphemy is certainly not 
of the conftruftive kind, but dire£l, manifeft, and malignant. 
Firft, it is mentioned as comprehended under the fame genus 
with abufe againft man, and contradiftinguiihed only by the ob- 

♦ Apol. 2. + Lib. i. c. 29. 


jeft. Secondly, it is further explained, by being c2X\Qd. ff)e a king 
agatnft^ in both cafes. 'Os «» ffcr?) Aoyon kxtx. ra wa t» «v^^*^sf, — ^? 
S'ofy s<5r»i xi«T« T8 ■xnv^xTOi tv «'/<». The expreffions are the fame, in 
efFeft, in all the Evangcllfts who mention it, and imply fuch an 
oppofition as is both intentional and malevolent. This cannot 
have been the cafe of all who diibelieved the miflion of Jefus, 
and even decried his miracles ; many of whom, v/e have reafon 
to think, were afterwards converted by the Apoilles. But it is 
not impofTible, that it may have been the wretched cafe of fome 
who, infiigated by worldly ambition and avarice, have flandered 
what they knew to be the caufe of God, and, againil convidion, 
reviled his work as the operation of evil fpirits. 

j 18. A late writer *, more ingenious than judicious, has, af- 
ter making fome juft remarks on this fubje6l, proceeded fo far as 
to maintain that there can be no fuch crime as blasphemy. Kis 
argument (by fubftituting defamation for blafphemy, defame for 
blafpheme, and man for God) ferves equally to prove that there 
is no fuch crime as defamation, and ftands thus : * Defamation 

* prefuppofes malice ; where there is malice, there is mifappre- 
' henlion. Now the perfon who, mifapprehending another de- 

* fames him, does no more than put the man's name (I ufe the 
' author's phrafeology) to his own mifapprehenlions of him. 
' This is fo far from fpeaking evil of the man, that it is not 

* fpeaking of him at all. It is only fpeaking evil of a wild idea, 
' of a creature of the imagination, and exifting nowhere but 

* there f .' From this clear manner of reafoning the following 
corollary, very comfortable to thofe whom the world has hither- 
to mifnamed ilanderers, may fairly be deduced. If you have a 
fpite againft. any roan, you may freely indulge your malevolence, 
in faying of him all the evil you can think of. That you cannot be 
juftly charged with defamation, is demonflrable. If all that you 
lay be true, he is not injured by you, and therefore you are no 
detradtor. If the whole or part be falfe, what is falfe does not 
reach him. Your abufe in that cafe is levelled againft an ideal 
being, a chimera to which you only affix his name (a mere trifle, 
for a name is but a found), but with which the man's real cha- 
rafter is not concerned. Therefore, when you have faid the worft 
that malice and refentment can iaggt^, you are not chargeable 


* Independent Whig^, No. 55. 

+ That the reader may be fati&t-d that T do not wrong this author, I 
fhall annex, in his own words, part of his reafonina concerning blafphemy. 
'* As it IS a crime that implies m.ilicc againft God, I am noc able to con- 
" ccive how any man can commi-. it. A man who knows God, cannot 
" I'peak evil of him. And a man uho knows him not, and reviles him, 
*• does therefore revile him. becaufe he knows him not. He therefore 
" puts the name of God to his own mifspprthenfions of God. This is fo 
*' idv from fpeaking evil of the Deity, that it is not fpeaking of the Deity 
" at all. It is only fpeaking evil of a wild idea, of a creature of the im:i- 
" gination, and f^y.ifling nowhere bat there." 


with defamation, which was the point to be proved. Thus the 
argument of that volatile author goes further to emancipate men 
from all the reftraints of reafon and confcience than, I believe, 
he himfelf was aware. He only intended by it, as one would 
think, to releafe us from the fear of God ; it is equally well 
calculated for freeing us from all regard to man. Are we from 
this to form an idea of the liberty, both facred and civil, of 
which that author affeded to be confidered as the patron and 
friend ; and of the deference he profeffes to entertain for the 
Scriptures and primitive Chriflianity ? I hope not ; for he is far 
from being at all times confiftent with himfelf. Of the many 
evidences which might be brought of this charge, one is, that no 
man is readier than he to throw the imputation of blafphemy on 
thofe whofe opinions differ from his own*. 


Of Schism. 

J. HE next term I propofed to examine critically was i;x,icftA, 
fchifm. The Greek word frequently occurs in the New Tefta- 
ment, though it has only once been rendered fchifm by our tran- 
flators. However, the frequency of the ufe among theologians has 
made it a kind of technical term in relation to ecclefiaftical mat- 
ters : and the way it has been bandied as a term of ignominy from 
fedl to fe£l reciprocally, makes it a matter of feme confequence to 
afcertain, if poffible, the genuine meaning it bears in holy writ. 
In order to this, let us, abftracling alike from the uncandid repre- 
fentations of all zealous party-men, have recourfe to the oracles 
of truth, the fource of light and diredlion. 

§ 2. As to the proper acceptation of the word ^-yj^^x.^ when 
applied to objeds merely material, there is no difference of fen- 
timents amongft interpreters. Every one admits that it ought 
to be rendered rent, breach, or feparation. In this fenfe it oc- 
curs in the Gofpels, as where our Lord fays, No man putteth a 


* In the dedication of the book, to the lower houfe of ccnvocaticn, the 
author advifes them to clear themi'slvts from the imputation of maintain- 
ing certain ungodly tenets, by expofing the blafpbemies of thole of their 
own body : in No. 23, we are told that falfe zeal talks blafphemy in the 
name of the Lord ; in No. 24, thai perfecutors blafphemonjly pietcnd to be 
fetving God ; and in No. 17, that it is a kind of blafphtmy to attempt to 
perluade people that God taket pleafure in vexing his c.ientnres. More 
exaniples of the commililon of this impradicable crime might be produced 
from that author, if neceflary. 


puce of new cloth to an old garment ; for that which is put in to 
fill it up, taketh from the garment, and the rent is made worse. 
Matt ix. 16. Xu^cv c-)ct<^^'X 7'nr»i. The fame phrafe occurs in 
the parallel paflage in Mark, ch. ii. 21. From this fenfe it is 
transferred bj metaphor to things incorporeal. Thus it is ufed 
once and again by the Evangelilt John, to fignify a difference in 
opinion expreffed in words. Of the conteft among the Jews, 
concerning Jefus, fome maintaining that he was, others that he 
was not, the Mefliah ; the facred hiftorian fays, 'Z^.te-^x av %» ru 
<>)(,Xu iyiviTo §«' etvT6v. So there was a divijion among the people he- 
caufe of him, John vii. 43. Here it is plain the word is ufed in 
a fenfe perfeftly indifferent ; for it was neither in the true opi- 
nion fupported by one lide, nor in the falfe opinion fupported by 
the other, that the schism or divifion lay, but in the oppolition of 
thefe two opinions. In this fenfe of the word, there would have 
been no schism, if they had been all of one opinion, whether it 
had been the true opinion, or the falfe. The word is ufed pre- 
cifely in the fame fignification by this Apoftle, in two other 
places of his Gofpel, ch. ix. 16. x. 19. 

\ 3. But it is not barely to a declared deference in judgment, 
that even the metaphorical ufe of the word is confined. _^ As 
breach or rupture is the literal import of it in our language ; 
wherever thefe words may be figuratively applied, the term 
vx,te-fiu, feems likewife capable of an application. It invariably 
prefuppofes that among thofe things whereof it is affirmed, there 
fubfirted an union formerly, and as invariably denotes that the 
union fubfifts no longer. In this manner the Apoflle Paul ufes 
the word, applying it to a particular church or Chriftian congre- 
gation. Thus he adjures the Corinthians by the name of the 
Lord Jefus, that there be no divifions or fchifms among them, 
I Cor. i. 10. Ux fiv) V sv vfi:y 9-%iffMCTx. ; and in another place of the 
fame Epiftle, ch. xi. i8, he tells them, / hear that there are di- 
vi/ions or fchifms among you, ««»* a-y^iTitxTu, a Itnv iiTxe^av. In 
order to obtain a proper idea of what is meant by a breach or 
fchifm in this application, we mull form a juft notion of that 
which conftituted the union whereof the fchifm was a violation. 
Now the great and powerful cement which united the fouls of 
Chriftians, was their mutual love. Their hearts, in the empha- 
tical language of holv writ, were knit together in love, Col. ii. 2, 
This had been declared by their Mafter to be the diftinguilhing 
badge of their profeffion. By this Jhall all men know that ye are 
my difciples, if ye have love one to another, Johnxiii. 35. Their 
partaking of the fame baptifsT!, their profefTing the fame faith, 
their enjoying the fame promifes, and their joining in the fame 
religious fervice, formed a connection merely external and of lit- 
tle hgnificance, unlefs, agreeably to the Apoftle's expreflion, 
Eph. ill. 17. it was rooted and grounded in love. As this, there, 
Vor. I. S s fore 


fore, is the gieat criterion of the Chriftian chara£ler, and the 
foundation ot the Chriftian unity, whatever alienates the affec- 
tions of Chriftians from one another, is manifeftly fubverfive of 
both, and may confequently, with the greateft truth and energy, 
be denominated fchijm. It is not fo much what makes an out- 
ward dift;inclion or feparation (though this alfo may in a lower 
degree be fo denominated), as what produces an alienation of the 
heart, which conftitutes fchifm in the fenfe of the Apodle : for 
this directly at the vitals of Chriftianity. Indeed both 
the evil and the danger of the former, that is, an external fepa- 
ration, is principally to be eftimated from its influence upon the 
latter, that is, in producing an alienation of heart ; for it is in 
the union of affeftion among Chriftians, that the fpirit, the life, 
and the power, of religion, are principally placed. 

§ 4. It may be faid. Does it not rather appear, from the paf- 
fage firft quoted, to denote fuch a breach of that vifible unity in 
the outward order fettled in their alTemblies, as refults from fome 
jarring in their religious opinions, and by confequence in the ex- 
preffions they adopted ? This, I own, is what the words in im- 
mediate connedlion, conlidered by themfelves, would naturally 
fuggeft. 1 befeecb you^ brethren, that ye all /peak the fame things 
and that there he no divifio?ii (fchifms) among you, aud that ye 
be per feBly joined together in the fame mind and in the fame judg~ 
metjt^ I Cor. i. 10. It cannot be denied that a certain unanimity, 
or a declared aflent to the great articles of the Chriftian profef- 
fion, was neceffary in every one, in order to his being admitted to, 
and kept in the communion of, the church. But then it muft be 
allowed, on the other hand, that thofe articles were at that time, 
few, fimple, and perfpicuous. It is one of the many unhappy 
confequences of the difputes that have arifen in the church, and 
of the manner in which thefe have been managed, that fuch terms 
of communion have fmce been multiplied, in every part of the 
Chrift;ian world, and not a little perplexed with metaphyfical 
fubtleties, and fcholaftic quibbles. Whether this evil confequence 
was, in its nature, avoidable, or, if it was, in what manner it 
might have been avoided, are queftions, though important, foreign 
to the prefent purpofe. Certain it is, however, that feveral 
phrafes ufed by the Apofl;les, in relation to this fubjeft, fuch as 
CjMi^gevs?, TO etuTo <p^oj«>T£f, and fome others, commonly underltood 
to mean unanimous in opinion, denote, more properly, coinciding 
in affeftion, concurring in love, defire, hatred, and averfion, agree- 
ably to the common import of the verb (p^eveiv both in facred au- 
thors and in profane, which is more ftridlly rendered to favour, 
to relijh, than to be of opinion. 

$ 5. Further, let it be obferved, that in matters whereby the 
eflentials of the faith are not affeded, much greater indulgence to 
diverfity of opinion was given, in thofe pure and primitive times, 



than has been allowed fince, when the externals, or 'the form of 
religion, came to be raifed on the ruins of the effentials, or the 
power, and a fuppofed corredlnefs of judgment made of greater 
account than purity of heart. In the apoftolic age, which m.ay 
be ftyled the reign of charity, their mutual forbearance in regard 
to fuch differences, was at once an evidence, and an exercife, of 
this divine principle. Him that is weak in the faith, lays our 
Apoftle, receive ye^ but nor to doubtful difputations For one be- 
lieveth that he may eat all things : another who is weak^ enteth 
herbs. Let not him that eateth^ defpife him that eateth not ; and 
let not him who eateth not^ J^'^g^ ^^^ t^^^ eateth, Roni.xiv. I, 
2,3. One man e/ieemeth one day above another : another ejleem- 
eth every day alike. As to thele difputable points, let every man 
be fully perfuaded in his own mind, (Rom. xiv. 5.) and as far as he 
himfelf is concerned, att according to his perfuafion. But he does 
not permit even him who is in the right, to difturb his brother's 
peace, by fuch unimportant inquiries. Hafi thou faith ? fays 
he ; the knowledge and convidlion of the truth on the point in 
queftion ? Have it to thyfe If before God. Happy is he who Con- 
demneth not himfelf in that thing which he alloweth^ Rom. xiv. 
22. And in another place, Let us., therefore, as many as be per- 
fe£i, be thus minded ; and if in any thing ye be otherwife minded^ 
God fliall reveal even this unto you. Neverthelefs, whereto we 
have already attained., let us walk by the fame rule, let us mind 
the fame thing., Phil. iii. ij, 16. We are tcf remember, that as 
the kingdom of God is noi meat and drink., fo neither is it logical 
acutenefs in diftinftion, or grammatical accuracy of expreflion ; 
but it is righteoufnefs^ and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghofl. For 
he that in thefe things fervtth Cbrift, is acceptable to God, and 
approved of men, Rom. xiv. 17, 18. 

§ 6. Now, if we enquire, by an examination cf the context, 
into the nature of thofe differences among the Corinthians, to 
which Paul affixes the name c-yj^y-xTx, nothing is more certain, 
than that no caufe of difference is fuggefted, which has any the 
Icaft relation to the doclrines of religion, or to any opinions that 
might be formed concerning them. The fault which he ft'gma- 
tifed wi:h that odious appellation, confifted then folely in an un- 
due attachment to particular perfons, under whom, as chiefs or 
leaders, tlie people feverally ranked themfclves, and thus, with- 
out making feparate communions, formed diftinftions among 
themfelves, to the manifeft prejudice of the common bond of 
charity, clafTing themfelves under different heads. Now this I 
fay., adds the Apollle, that every one of you faith., I am of Paul, 
and I of Apollo s, and I of Cephas., and L of Chrifi^ i Cor. i. 12. 
It delerves to be remarked, that of the differences among the 
Roman converts, concerning the obfervance of days, and the dif- 
tin^ion of meats, which we fliould think more material, as they 



more nearly aflFecl the juftnefs of religious fentiments, and the 
purity of religious praftice, the Apaftle makes fo little account, 
that he will not permit them to harafs one another with fuch 
queftions ; but enjoins them to allow every one to follow hi:; 
own judgment ; at the fame lime that he is greatly alarmed at 
differences among the Corinthians, in which, as they refult fole- 
ly from particular attachments and perfonal elleem, neither the 
faith nor the practice of a ChrilHan appears to have an imme- 
diate concern. But it was not without reafon that he made this 
dillindlion. The hurt threatened by the latter was direflly 
againll that extenfive love commanded by the Chriftian law ; 
but not lefs truly, though more indireftly, againfi: the Chriftian 
doclrine and manners. By attaching themfelves ftrongly to hu- 
man, and confequentiy fallible, teachers and guides, they weak- 
ened the tie which bound them to the only divine guide and 
teacher, the MelTiah, and therefore to that alfo which bound 
them all one to another. 

§ 7. What it was that gave rife to fuch difti.nclions in the 
church of Corinth, we are not informed, nor is it material for us 
to know\ From what follows in tlie Epiftle, it is not improba- 
ble, that they might have thought it proper in this manner to 
range themfelves, under thofe who had been the inQrumeats of 
their converfion to Chriftianity, or perhaps, thofe by whom they 
had been baptized, or for whom they had contracted a ipccial 
veneration. It is» evident, hov/ever, that thefe petty differences, 
as we Ihould account them, had already begun to produce confe- 
quences unfriendly to the fpiiic of the Gofpel ; for it is in this 
point of view folely that the Apoftle co:ifidtrs them, and not as 
having an immediate bad influence on its doclrine. Thus rc- 
fuming the lubjecl, he fays, Ye are yet cutnal i for whereas there 
is among you envying and Ji rife and divijions, are ye not carnal 
and walk as men ? For wbi/e one faith ^ 1 am of Paul^ and another 
I am of Apollo s^ are ye not carnal i I Cor.iii.3, 4. Ihus ;t is 
uncontrovertible, in the firft place, that the accufation imports 
that the Corinthians, by their conduit, had given a wound to 
charity, and not that they had made any deviation from the 
faith ; and in the feccnd place, that, in the apollolical acceptation 
of the word, men may be fchifmatics, or guilty of fchilm, by 
fuch an alienation of afftdlion from their brethren as violates the 
internal union fubfifting in the hearts of Chriftians, though there 
be neither error in dodlrine nor feparation from communion, and 
confequentiy no violation of external unity in ceremonies and 
vvorfhip. Fauftus, a Manichean bifnop in the fourth century 
(however remote from truth the leading principles of his party 
were on more important articles), entertained fentiments on this 
fubjedl entirely fcriptural. " Schifma," fays he, •' nifi fallor, eft 
" eadcra opinantem atque eodem ritu collentem quo caeteri, folo 

'* congregationis 


*' congregatioins deleftari diffiJio." Fauft. 1. xx. C. iii. ap. 

5 8- Afier fo clear a proof of the import of the term, if it 
fhould be thought of confequence to allege in confirmation what 
mull be acknowledged to be more indirect, ye may confider the 
only other paffage in which the term is ufed in the New Tcfla- 
ment, and applied metaphorically to the human body. In tlie 
iame Epillle, the Apollle having fnown that the different fpiri- 
tual gifts bellowed on Chriliians, rendered them mutually fub- 
fervient, and made all, in their feveral ways, harmonioufly con- 
tribute to the good of the Chriilian community, gives a beautiful 
illuftration of this doftrine from the natural bodj'-, the different 
fun£lions of whofe members admirably conduce to the benefit 
and fupport of one another, and to the perftclion and felicity of 
the whole. He concludes in thefe words : God hath teiiipered 
the body together, having given more abutidant honour to that 
part which lacked, that there Jljould he no Jchijm in the hody^ 
I'/x ft/j J) a-^is-fix £y Tu a-uju-uTi, hut that the members Jhould have the 
Jarne care one for another : and whether one member fvffer, all 
the members Juffer with it^ or one member be honoured^ all the 
meinbers rejoice with it^ 1 Cor. xii. 24, 25, 26. It is obvious 
that the word Jchifm is here employed to fignify, not a feparation 
from the body, fuch as is made by amputation or fraSure, but 
fuch a defect in utility and congruity, as would dellroy what he 
confiders as the mutual fympathy of the members, and their care 
one of another. 

§ 9. As to the diflin<5lions en this fubje£l, which in after- 
limes obtained among theologians, it is proper to remark, that 
error in doctrine was not fuppofed eilential to the notion of fchif.n ; 
its diftinguifhing badge was made feparation from communion in 
religious offices, infomuch that the words fchifmat'ic z.vA fepara- 
ti/i, have been accounted^fyncnvmous. By this, divines common- 
ly diicnmiz\cLlQ fchifm from herefy, the effence of which laft is rc- 
prefented as confilling in an erroneous opinion obftinately main- 
tained, concerning feme fundamental dodrine of ChriilianL;y ; 
and that whether it be accompanied with feparation in refpecl of 
the ordinances of religion, or not. We have now feen that the 
former definition does not quadrate with the application of the 
v/ord in the New Teflament, and t\\-a.\. fcbijm^ in fcriptural ufe, is 
one thing, and frhifri, in ecclefiallical ufe, another. 




Of Herefy. 

JL<ET US liovv enquire with the fame freedom and irnpartiality, 
into the fcriptural life of the other term. The Greek word 
fti/^sTif, which properly imports no more than election, or choice^ 
was commonly employed by the Helleniil Jews, in ouf Saviour's 
time, when the people were much divided in their religious fen- 
timents, to denote, in general, any branch of the diviiion, and 
was nearly equivalent to the Engliih words, clafi, party, feet. 
The word was not, in its earliell a-jceptation, conceived to convey 
any reproach in it, iince it was indifferently ufed, either of a par- 
ty approved, or of one difapproved, by the writer. In this way 
it occurs feveral times in the Afls of the Apoftles, where it is 
always (one fingle palTage excepted) rendered feet. We hear 
alike of the fe£i: of the Saddncees, ki^i^i', ■jra»> I.v^'^hkxkuv, Afts v. 17. 
and of the fe6t of the Pharifees, «;§=«■;; ruv (Ix^ta-xtav., A6ts xv. ^. 
In both places the term is adopted by the hiltorian, purely for 
dillinftion's fake, without the leafi appearance of intention to 
convey either praife or blame. Nay, on one occalion, Paul, in 
the defence he made for himfelf before king Agrippa, where it 
was manifeftly his intention to exalt the party to which he had 
belonged, and to give their fyflem the preference to every other 
fyftem of Judaifm, both in foundnefs of dodlrine, and purity of 
morals, expreffes himfelf thus : My manner of hfe from my 
youth, which was at the fir Ji among mine own nation at ferufalern^ 
know all the jfews, which knew me from the beginning, if they 
would teftify ; that after the moft ftraitefi feet of our religion^ 
xa.Tx T«v «x|;/3:s-«T>;v ktgis-tv T/ir^ t>i:/.iTi^xi ^^yiTKUoi?, I lived a Pharifee^ 
Atls xxvi. 4, 5. 

^ 2. There is only one pafl'age in that hiflory, wherein there 
is an appearance that fomething reproachful is meant to be con- 
veyed under the name ai^nrn. It is in the accufation of Paul, by 
the orator Tertullus, on the part of the Jews, before the governor 
Felix ; where, amongft other things, we have thefe words ; JVe 
have found this man a pefiilent fellow, and a mover of f edition 
among all the fews throughout the world., and a rintrleader of the 
feB of the Na'zarenes, Tt^uro^otr-Av ri tu; rm Nx^co^ximv ai^t^ion, Adls 
xxiv. 5. I fhould not, however, have imagined that any part of 
the obloquy lay in the application of the word lail mentioned, 
if it had not been for the notice which the apoftle takes of it in 
bis anfwer. But this 1 confefs unto thee, that after the way 



which they call herefy, in Myairiv ui^a-iv, fo ivorjhip I the God of 
my fathers^ A£is xxiv. 14. 

§ ^. Here, by the way, I muft remark a great impropriety in 
the Engliili tranflation, though in this, I acknowledge, it does but 
follow the Vulgate. The lame word is rendered one way in the 
charge brought againit the prifoner, and another way in his an- 
fwer for himfelf. The confequence is, that tiiough nothing can 
be more appofite than his reply, in this inftance, as it ftands in 
the original, yet nothing can appear mc-re foreign than this paf- 
fage in the two verfions above mentioned. The apoftle feems to 
defend himfelf againft crimes of which he is not accufed. Jn 
both place?, therefore, the word ought to have been tranllated in 
the fame manner, \\\\tth&t herefy or feB. In my judgment, the 
lail term is the only proper one ; for the word herefy, in the mo- 
dern acceptation, never faits the import of the original word, as 
ufed in Scripture. But, when one attends to the very critical 
circumftances of the apoftle at this time, the difficulty in account- 
ing for his having confidered it as a reproach to be denominated 
of a /f<5?, dildaimed by the whole nation, inftantly vanifhes. 
Let it be remembered, firlf, that, fince the Jews had fallen under 
the power of the Romans, their ancient national religion had not 
only received the fanclion of the civil powers for the continu- 
ance of its eifablifhment in Judea, but had obtained a toleration 
in other parts of the empire ; fecondly, that Paul is now plead- 
ing before a Roman governor, a Pagan, who could not well be 
fuppofed to know much of the Jewifli dodlrine, worfhip or con- 
troverfies ; and that he had been arraigned by the rulers of his 
own nation, as belonging to a turbulent and upftart fe6l ; for in 
this way they ccnildered the Chriftians, whom they reproachful- 
ly named Nazarenes. The natural confequence of this charge, 
with one who underftood fo little of their affairs as Felix, was to 
make him look upon the prifoner, as an apoftate from Judaifm, 
and therefore, as not entitled to be protected, or even tolerated, 
on the fcore of religion. Againft a danger of this kind, it was 
of the utmoft importance to our apoftle to defend himfelf. 

§ 4 Accordingly, when he enters on this part of the charge, 
how felicitous is he to prove, that his belonging to that feci did 
not imply any defedtion from the religion of his anceftors; and 
thus to prevent any millaken judgment, on this article of his ar- 
raignment, into which a heathen judge muft have oiherwife un- 
avoidably fallen. His own words will, to the attentive, fuper- 
fede all argument or illullration : But tbii I confefs to thee, that 
after the way -which they call a feci, fo ivorfhip I ; whom ? No 
new divinity, but, on the contrary, the God of our fathers : he 
adds, in order the more cfTectually to remove every fufpicion of 
apoflafv, Believing all things ubich are written in the law and 


328 P R E L I ?*! r N^ A R r 

the prophets ; and have the fame hope towards God, which they 
themjelves alfo entertain, that there Jhall he a refurreBion of the 
dead^ both of the jufl and of the unjufl^ A els xxiv. 14, 15. No- 
thing could have been more ridiculous, than for the apoftle feri- 
Gufly to defend his doftrine againft the charge of beterodoxj, be- 
fore an idolater and polytheift, who regarded both him and his 
accufers as fnperftitious fools, and confequently as, in this refpeft, 
precifely on a footing ; but it was entirely pertinent in him to 
evince before a Roman magiftrate, that his faith and mode of 
■worihip, however much traduced by his enemies, were neither 
eflentially different from, nor any way fubverfive of that religion 
which the fenate and people of Rome were folemnly engaged to 
proteft ; and that therefore he was not to be treated as an apof- 
tate, as his adverfarics, by that article of accufation, that be was 
of the feft of the Nazarenes, (hewed evidently that they defired 
he (hould. Thus the apoftle, with great addrefs, refutes the 
charge of having revolted from the religious inftitution of Mo- 
fes, and, at the fame time, is fo far from difclaiming, that he glo- 
ries in the name of a follower of Chrill. 

§ 5. There is only one other place in this hiiiory, in which 
the word occurs, namely, where the Jews at Rome (for whom 
Paul had fent on his arrival) fpeaking of the Chriftian fociety, 
addrefs him in thefe words : But ive defre to hear of thee what 
thou thinkeft ; for as concerning this fiB^ rrs^t f*iv y«g tk ai^inti: 
TscvTTti, we know that it is every where fpoken againfi, Adls xxviii. 
12. There cannot be a queftion here, of the propriety of ren- 
dering the word ajg'.r.j, fe£i, a term of a middle nature, not ne- 
cefTarily implying either good or bad. For, as to the difpofition 
wherein thofe Jews were at this time, it is plain they did not 
think, themfelves qualihed to pronounce either for or againfi it, 
till they fhould give Paul who patronifed it a full hearing. This 
they were willing to do, and therefore only acquainted him, in 
general, that they found it to be a party that was univerfally de- 
cried. Thus, in the hiflorical part of the New Teftament, we 
find the word «(^:7<j employed to dev.ottfeSi or /)ar?_^', indifcrimi- 
nately, whether good or bad. It has no necelTary reference to 
opinions, true or falfe. Cerrain it is, that feds are commonly, 
not always, caufed by ditTtrencc in opinion, but the term is ex- 
preflive of the efFe£l only, not of the caufe. 

§ 6. In order to prevent midakes, I fnall here further obferve. 
that (he word y^c?, among the Jews, was not, in its application, 
entirely coincident with the fame term as applied by Chriflians 
to the fubdivifions fubfifting among themfelves. We, if I m'.u 
take not, invariably ufe it of thofe who form fe])arate commu- 
nions, and do not alTociate with one another in religious worftiip 
and ceremonies. Thus we call Papills, Lutherans, Calvinifts, dif- 
ferent fcfts, not fo much on account of their difFtrences in op-- 



nion, as becaufe they have eftablifhed to themfelves difFerent fra- 
ternities, to which, in what regards public worfliip, they confine 
themfelves, the feveral denominations above mentioned having no 
intercommunity with one another in facred matters. High church 
and low church we call only parties, becaufe they have not 
formed feparate communions. Great and known differences in 
opinion, when followed by no external breach in the fcciety, are 
not confidered with us as conftituting diitinft feds, though their 
differences in opinion, may give rife to mutual averfion. Now, 
in the Jewilb feds (if v.-e except the Samaritans) there were no 
feparate communities erected. The fame temple, and the fame 
fynagogues, were attended alike by Pharifees and by Saddactes. 
Nay, there were often of both denominations in the Sanhedrim, 
and even in the priefthood. 

Another difference was, that the name of the fe£l was not ap-. 
plied to all the people who adopted the fame opinions, but folely 
to the men of eminence among them, who were confidered as 
the leaders and inftrudlors of the party. The much greater part 
of the nation, nay, the whole populace, received implicitly the 
doctrine of the Pharifees, yet Jofephus never ftyles the common, 
people Pharifees, but only followers and admirers of the Phari- 
fees. Nay, this diftinftion appears fufficiently from facred writ. 
The Scribes and Pharisees^ fays our Lord, Matt, xxiii. 2. fit in 
Mofes' feat. This could not have been faid fo generally, if any 
thing further had been meant by Pharifees, but the teachers and 
guides of the party. Again, when the officers fent by the chief 
priefts to apprehend our Lord, returned without bringing him, 
and excufed themfrlves by faying. Never man fpaie like this man^ 
they were alked, Have any of the rulers or of the Pharifees he- 
lieved on him ? John vii. 48. Now, in our way of ufing words, 
we ftiould be apt to fay, that all his adherents were of the Phari- 
fees ; for the Pharifaical was the only popular doftrine. But it 
was not to the followers, but to the leaders, that the name of the 
feft was applied. Here however we mull except the Effenes, 
who, as they all, of whatever rank originally, entered into a fo- 
lemn engagement, whereby they confined themfelves to a pecu- 
liar mode of life, which, in a great meafure, fecluded them from 
the reft of mankind, were confidered almofl in the fame manner 
as we do the Benediftines or Dominicans, or any order of monks 
or friars among the Romamfts. 

Jofephus, in the account he has given of the Jewrifh fe£ts, con- 
fiders them all as parties who fupported different fyllems of phi- 
lofophy, and has been not a little cenfured for this by fome cri- 
tics. But as things were underftood then, this manner of conf^- 
dering them was not unnatural. Theology, morality, and quef- 
tions regarding tlie immortality of the foul and a fdture ftate, 
v.-ere principal branches of their philofophy. *' Philofophia,". 

Vo L. I. T t fays 


fays Cicero *, **■ nos primum ad deorum cultum, deinde ad ju3 
*• hominum quod fitum eft in generis humani focietate, turn ad 
*' modelliam, magnitudinemque animi erudivit : eademque ab 
*' animo tanquam ab oculis, caliginem difpulit, ut omnia fupera, 
" infera, prima, ultima, media, videremus." Befides, as it was 
only men of eminence qualified to guide and inftru6l the people, 
who were dignified with the title either of Pharifee or of Saddu- 
cee, there was nothing fo analogous among the Pagans, as their 
different feds of philofophers, the Stoics, the Academics, and 
the Epicureans, to whom alfo the general term u-t^nrii was com- 
monly applied. Epiphanius, a Chriftian writer of the fourth 
century, from the fame view of things with Jofephus, reckons, 
among the ui^ia-iti, fe£ls or herefies, if you pleafe to call tliem fo, 
which arofe among the Greeks, before the coming of Chrift, 
thefe clafles of philofophers, the Stoics, the Platonifts, the Py- 
thagoreans, and the Epicureans. Of this writer it may alfo be 
remarked, that in the firft part of his work, he evidently ufes 
the word utfis-ii in all the latitude in which it had been employed 
by the facred writers, as fignifying feft or party of any kind, 
and without any note of cenfure. Otherwife he would never 
have numbered Judaifm, whofe origin he derives from the com- 
mand which God gave to Abraham to circumcife all the males 
of his family, among the original herefies. Thus, in }aying 
down the plan of his work, he fays, E» t* bv tc^utu ji.iiXiu 5rg«T» 

T««» (i(££iri«j uy.otriv, eii Ucriy uwi, /3up/Zu^is'f4,oi, e-KV^KJ-fiOi, iX}^r,vi!/f,'.o;, wxtfuo^y 

K. T. £• This only by the i ay. 

§ 7. But it may be alked, is not the acceptation of the word, 
in the Epiftles, different from what it has been obferved to be in 
the hiftorical books of the New Teflament ? Is it not, in the 
former invariably ufed in a bad fenfe, as denoting fomething 
wrong, and blameable ? That in thofe, indeed, it always denotes 
fomething faulty or even criminal, I am far from difputing : ne- 
verthelefs, the acceptation is not materially different from that in 
which it always occurs in the Afts of the apoftles. In order to 
remove the apparent inconfiftency in what has been now advan- 
ced, let it be obferved that the word feB has always fomething 
relative in it, and therefore in different applications, though the 
general import of the term be the fame, it will convey a favour- 
able idea, or an unfavourable, according to the particular relation 
it bears, t explain myfelf by examples. The word /e6i may 
be ufed along with the proper name, purely by way of diftinc- 
tion from another party of a different name, in which cafe the 
word is not underftood to convey either praife or blame. Of 
this we have examples in the phrafes above quoted, the fe£t of 
the Pharifees, the fed of the Sadducees, the fed of the Naza- 

* Tufcul. Qoceft. lib. I. 


renes. In this way we may fpeak of a ilri6l fe£l, or a lax fe6l, 
or even of a good feci, or a bad fed. If any thing reprehenfible 
or commendable be fu^trefted, it is notfuggefled by the term fed, 
ii^iyi;, but by the words conftrued with it. Again, it may be 
applied to a formed party in a community, co;iGdered in reference 
to the whole. If the community,.of which the feft is a part, be 
of fach a nature as not to admit this fubdivifion without impair- 
ing and corrupting its conftitution, to charge them with fplitting 
into feels, or forming parties, is to charge them with corruption, 
in what is moft elTential co them as a fociety. Hence arifes all 
the difference there is in t":ie word, as ufed in the hiftory, and as 
ufed in the Epiflles of Peter and Paul ; for thefe are the only 
apofhles who employ it. In the hiftory, the reference is always 
of the firft kind ; in the Epiftles, always of the fecond. lu 
thefe, the apoftles addrefs themfelves only to Chriftians, and are 
not fpeaking of feels without the church, but either reprehend- 
ing them for, or warning them againft, forming feds among 
themfelves, to the prejudice of charity, to the produclionof much 
mifchief within their communitv, and of great fcandal to the un- 
converted world without. So Paul's words to the Corinthians 
were underftood by Chryfoflom, and other ancient espofitors. 
In both applications, how^ever, the radical import of the word is 
the fame. 

§ 8. But even here, it has no necefiary reference to dodrine, 
true or falfe. Let us attend to the firfl paflTage, in which it oc- 
curs in the Epiftles, and we fliall be fully fatisfied of the truth of 
this remark. It follows one quoted in Part III. of this DitTerta- 
tion. For there mujl he aljo her efies among you^ i Cor.xi.19. 
Lu »/«g xfl{< eci^iTii; £» vuii/ tiixt. Ye muft alfo have feds amongfl 
you. It is plain, that what he reproves under the name c-/.t^fixTc(^ 
in the former verfe, is in efFed the fame with what he here de- 
nominates cci^iTiig. Now, the term c-^itux^ I have {hewn already 
to have ther-- no relation to any erroneous tenet, but folely to un- 
due regards to fome individual teachers, to the prejudice of others, 
and of the'common caufe. In another pailiige of this Epiftle, 
where, fpeaking of the very fame reprehenfible condud, he ufes 
the words ftrife and fadions, e^/j K*t ^t^crxa-txf, 1 Cor. iii. 3. words 
nearly coincident with (r;t;<!rM«T« x«< ui^ann; ; his whole aim in thcfe 
reprehenfions is well expreffed in thefe words, that ye might learn 
in us (that is, in himfelf and Apollos, whom he had named, for 
example's fakej, not to think of men above that which is written^ 
above what Scripture warrants, that no one 0/ you he puffed up 
for one^ make your boaft of one, againji another^ i Cor. iv. 6. 

§ 9. It may be faid. Does not this explanation reprefent the 
two words fchifm and herefy as fynonymous ? That there is a 
great affinity in their fignifications is manifeft, but they are not 
convertible terms. I do not find that the word <ryj'7^'.x is ever 



applied in holy writ to a formed party, to which the word kiotvig 
is commonly applied- I underftand them in the epiPiles of this 
apoftle, as expreffive of different degrees of the fame evil. An 
undue attachment to one part, and a confequent alienation of af- 
fe6:ion from another part of the Chriflian community, comes 
under the denomination of (r-/,nrfix. When this difpofition has 
proceeded fo far as to produce an aclual party or fadlion among 
them, this effe6l is termed ui^nrii. And it has been remarked, 
that e%^en this term was at that time currently applied, when 
matcers had not come to an open rupture and fepavation, in point 
of communion. There was no appearance of this, at the time 
referred to, among the Corinthians. And even in Judaifm, the 
Pharifecs and die Sadducees, the two principal fedts, nay, the only 
fedVs mentioned in the Gofpel, and (which is flill more extraor- 
dinary) more widely different in their religious fentiments than 
any two Chriftian fefts, ftill joined together, as was but juft 
now obferved, in all the offices of religious fervice, and had nei- 
thei different priefts and rninifters, nor feparate places for focial 
worlhip, the reading of the law, or the obfervance of the ordi- 

§ io. It will perhaps be faid, that in the ufe at leaft which the 
apoftle Peter has made of this word, it muft be underftood to in- 
clude fome grofs errors fubverfive of the very foundations of the 
faith. The words in the common verfion arc, •' But there were 
" falfe prophets alfo among the people, even as there (hall be 
" falfe teachers among you, who privily ftjall bring in damnable 
" herefies, even denying the Lord that bouglit them, and bring 
*' upon themfelves fwift deftruftion," iPet. ii. i. That the 
apoflle in this paffage foretells that there will arife fuch «<§?«(?. 
fe£ts or fa^lions, as will be artfully and furveptitioufly formed by 
teachers, who will entertain fuch pernicious doclrines, is moil 
certain ; but there is not the leafl appearance that this laft cha- 
radter was meant to be implied in the word cctpii-uc. So far from 
it, that this character is fubjoined as additional information con- 
cerning, not the people feduced, or the party, but the feducing 
teachers ; for it is «)f them only, (though one would judge diffe- 
rently from our verfion), that what is contained in the latter 
part of the verfe is affirmed. The words in the original are. 

Toy etyopct,7ec'iT» ctvrni di(r7^orri'j upvuf^ivoi, iTTccyciTti ictvrotf ru^ir/,* WTcaXux't • 

Obferve it is u^wtntci and s5r«yo»T£f, in the mafculine gender and 
nominative cafe, agreeing with ■vJ/!y§o5<5«5-y.«Xo(, not a^vausv*? and 
iTxy\is-tti in the feminine gender, and accufative cafe, agreeing 
•with ki^-Tiii. Again, if the word ui^ith:; did not imply the effeft 
produced, feds or factions, but the opinions taught, whether true 
or falfe, which are often, not always, the fecret fpring of divi- 
fion, he would probably have expreffed himfelf in this manner. 


■}/iv}o}i}cc!-y.xXoi ciTivti ^i^c'-lns-i ct^ia-tK; uttuxux?, who Will teach damna- 
ble, or rather deftruftive herefies ; for doctrine of every kind, 
found and unfound, true and falfe, is properly faid to be taught j 
but neither here, nor any where elfe in Scripture, I may fafely 
add, nor in any of the writings of the two firfl centuries, do we 
ever find the word ui^t(7-ii conftrued with ^ioxB-y.a>, x^vs-c-u, or any 
word of like import, or an opinion, true or falfe, denominated 
uigta-is. There are therefore two diilinft and feparate evils in 
thofe falfe teachers of which the apoftle here gives warning. 
One is, their making divifion, by forming to themfelves fefts or 
parties of adherents ; the other is, the deftrudtive principles they 
will entertain, and, doubtlefs, as they find occafion, dilTeminatc 
among their votaries. 

§ n. The only other paffage in which the word at^ic-t? occurs 
in the New Teilament, is where Paul numbers ut^ic-ug, feBs 
among the works of the flelh. Gal. v. 20. and very properly 
fubjoins them to 'oiy^osTu.'^ia.i, faBions^ as the word ought to be 
rendered, according to the fenfe in which the apoftle always ufes 
it. Such diftinftions and divifions among themfelves, he well 
knew, could not fail to alienate afFeftion and infufe animofity. 
Hence we may learn to underftand the admonition of the apoftle, 
A man that is a heretic, ki^irty-oi on/B^a^rov, after the firji and fe- 
cond admonition rcjeB^ knowing that he that is fuch^ is Juhverted 
and Jinneth^ being condemned of himf elf. Tit. iii. 10, il. It is 
plain, from the charadler here given, as w-ell as from the genius 
of the language, that the word «<geT<;s«j in this place does not 
mean a member of an 6{<5««j or feft, who may be unconfcious of 
any fault, and fo is not equivalent to our word feBary ; much 
lefs does it anfwer to the Englifh word heretic, which always im- 
plies one who entertains opinions in religion, not only erroneous, 
but pernicious ; whereas, we have fliewn that the word cti^ic-ti, in 
Scriptural ufe, has no neceffary connexion with opinion at all. 
Its immediate conne£tion is with divifion or diffenfion, as it is 
thereby that fefls and parties are formed. 'Ajgenxej «v5g«x»j muft 
therefore mean one who is the founder of a fe6l, or at leaft has 
the difpofition to create «(§£5-£(j, or fefls, in the community, and 
may properly be rendered afaBious man. This verfion perfedl- 
\y coincides with the fcope of the place, and fuits the uniform 
import of the term ki^iarui^ from which it is derived. The ad- 
monition here given to Titus is the fame, though differently ex- 
preffed, with what he had given to the Romans, when he faid, 
Mark them which caiife divifions^ ^i^oTae-txi TromiTXi^ make parties 
or faftions, and avoid them, Rom. xvi. 17. As far down indeed 
as the fifth century, and even lower, error alone, however grofs, 
was not confidered, as fufHcient to warrant the charge of herefy. 
Malignity, or perverfenefs of difpofition was held eflential to this 
crime. Hence the famous adage of Auguftine, " Errare pof- 




fum, ha&reticus cfTe nolo;" which plainly implies that no error 
in judgment, on any article, of what importance foever, can make 
a man a heretic, where there is not praviry of will. To this 
fentiment, even the fchoolmen have (hewn regard in their defini- 
tions. " Herefy," fay they, " is an opinion maintained with 
ohftin'icv againfi: the doflrine of the church." But if we exa- 
mine a little their reafoning on the fubje£l, we fhall quickly find 
the qualifying phrafe maintained xi it h ohjiinacy^to be mere words 
which add nothing to the fenfe •, for if what they account the 
church haT e declared againft the opinion, a man's obftinacy is 
concluded from barely maintaining the opinion, in what way fo- 
ever he maintain it, or from what motives foever he be aftuated. 
Thus mere miRake is made at length to incur the reproach ori- 
ginally levelled againfi an infpiring fadtious temper, which would 
facrifice the dearefl intereds of foc.ety to its own ambition. 

§ 12. I cannot omit taking notice here, by the wav, that the 
late Dr Fofler, an eminent Englilh dilTenting minifter, in a fer- 
mon he preached on this fubjeft, has, in my opinion, quite mif- 
taken the import of the term. Hehad the difcernment to difco- 
ver that the charaflers annexed would not fuit the common ac- 
ceptation of tlie word heretic ,• yet he was fo far raided by that 
acceptation, as to think that error in dodlrine mufl be included 
as part of the defcription, and therefore defined a heretic in the 
Apoftle's fenfe, " a perfon who, to make himfelf confiderable, 
*' propagates falfe and pernicious doftrine, knowing it to be 
*' fuch." Agreeably to this notion, the anonymous Englilli tran- 
ilator renders with his ufual freedom kix,x^TKvit am xvTeKXTccK^no^, 
knows in his own confcietice that his tenets are falfe. To Fofter's 
explanation there are infuperable objections. Firft, it is not 
ao-reeable to the rules of criticifm, to afTign, without any evidence 
from ufe, a meaning to a concrete term which does not fuit the 
fenfe of the abilraft. 'A«js<r;j is the abftracl, «(«t;x«5 the concrete. 
If ut^i7i; could be liiown, in any inftance, to mean the profeffion 
and propagation of opinions not believed by him who protcfies 
and propagates them, I fiiould admit that kigtitKci; might denote 
the profeflbr or propagator of fuch opinions. But it is not pre- 
tended that iifiirii, in any ufe, fcriptural, claflical, or ecclefiaftical, 
ever bore thit meaning: there is therefore a very flrong proba- 
bility a^rainrt the fenfe given by that author to the word ui^-rnt^;. 
Secondly, this word, though it occurs but once in Scripture, is 
very common in ancient Chriftian writers, but has never been 
faid, in any one of them, to bear the meaning which the Dodtor 
has here fixed upon it. Thirdly, the apoftolical precept in this 
way explained is of little or no ufe. Who can know whether a 
man's belief in the opinions profeffed by him, be fmcere or hy- 
pocritical ? Titus, you may fay, had the gift of difcerning fpirits, 
and therefore might know. Was the precept, after his lifetime, 



to be of no fervice in the church ? This I think incredible, ei'pe- 
cially as there is no other diredlion in the chapter, or even in the 
Epiftle, which requires a fupernatural gift to enable men to fol- 
low To what purpofe enjoin U5 to avoid a heretic, if it be im- 
poflible withoat a miracle to know him ? In fine, though I would 
not fay that fuch a fpecies of h3'pocrify as Fofler makes efiential 
to the charafter, has never appeared, I am perfuaded, it very 
rarely appears. It is the natural tendency of vanity and ambi- 
tion to make a man exert himfcif in gaining profelytes to his 
own notions, however trifling, and however rafhly taken up. 
But it is not a natural efFeft of this pafEon to be zealous in pro- 
moting opinions which the promoter does not believe, and to the 
propagation of which he has no previous inducement from inte- 
reft. It is fufficient to vindicate the application of the term 
ccvTcxxrxx.^iroi, ox Jdf-condemned^ that a factious or turbulent tem- 
per, like any other vicious difpolition, can never be attended with 
peace of mind, but, in fpite of all the influence of felf-dcceit, 
which is not greater in regard to this than in regard to other 
vices, mull, for the mortal wounds it gives to peace and love, 
often be difquieted by the ftings of confcience. In fhort, the 
rt<g6T(xe5, when that term is applied to a perfon profeffing Chiiili- 
anity, is the man who, either from pride, or from motives of 
ambition or intereft, is led to violate thefe important precepts of 

our Lord, 'Twjjj o-. fc/) xM^^iTt ^sifit^i' U^ yup l^iv iuun a 3i^(CTKX>^ai, 6 X^ifoj. 
fi/iOi KXviBr.ri xu3-/iy/iTci:' it; <yx^ ly.uv iTiv xct^Ayi^ni-, Xeii'o; I whlch I 

render thus : But as for you^ ajjume not the title of Rabbi ; for 
ye have only one teacher^ the Mefjiah : neither affume the title of 
leader Sf for ye have only one hader^ the MefJlah^ Matt, xxiii. 

§ 13. It deferves further to be remarked, that, in the early- 
ages of the church, after the finifhing of the canon, the word 
««^sT<xej was not always limited (as the word heretic is in modern 
ufe) to thofe who, under fome form or other, profefs Chriftianity. 
We at prefent invariably diftinguiih the heretic from the infidel^ 
The firft is a corrupter of the Chriftian dodtrine, of which he 
profeflfes to be a believer and a friend ; the fecond a declared un- 
believer of that dodtrine, and confequently an enemy : whereas, 
in the times 1 fpeak of, the head of a fadion in religion, or in 
ethics (for the term feems ncjjc to have been applied at firft to 
the inferior members), the founder, or at Icaft a principal pro- 
moter of a feci or paity, whether within or without the church ; 
that is, whether of thofe who called themfelves the difciples of 
Chrift, or of thofe who openly denied him, was indifcriminately 
termed tii^!T<z6j. 

The not attending to this difference in the ancient application 
of the word, has given rife to fome blunders and apparent con- 
tradictions in eccleiiaftic hiltory ; in confequence of which, the 



early writers have been unjuftly charged with confufion and in- 
confiftency in their account of things ; when, in fa(5l, the blun- 
ders imputed to them by more modern authors, have arifen iolely 
from an ignorance of their language. We confine their words 
by an ufage of our own, which did not obtain in their time, though 
it came gradually to obtain fome ages afterwards. Hence Dofi- 
theus, Simon Magus, Menander, and fome others, are commonly 
ranked among the ancient heretics ; though nothing can be more 
evident, from the accounts given by the mofl early writers, who 
fo denominate them, than that they were deniers of Jefus Chrift 
in every fenfe, and avowed oppofers of the gofpel. Dofitheus 
gave himfelf out * to his countrymen, the Samaritans, for the 
Mefliah promifed by Mofes. Simon Magus, as we learn from 
holy writ f, was baptifed ; but that, after the rebuke which he 
received from Peter, inftead of repenting, he apoftatized, the uni- 
form voice of antiquity puts beyond a queftion. Origen fays 
exprefsly J, *' The Simonians by no means acknowledge Jefus to 
" be the Son of God ; on the contrary, they call Simon the power 
" of God." Accordingly, they were never confounded with the 
Chriftians in the time of perfecution, or involved with them in 
any trouble or danger ||. Juftin Martyr is another evidence of 
the fame thing § ; as is alfo Irenaeus, in the account which, in 
his treatife againft herefies, he gives ^ of Simon and his difciple 
Menander. So is likewife Epiphanius. From them all it ap- 
pears manifedly, that the above named perfons were fo far from 
being, in any fenfe, followers of Jefus Chrift, that they prefumed 
to arrogate to thcmfelves his dilHnguifhing titles and preroga- 
tives, and might therefore be more juftly called Antichrifts than 
Chriftians. The like may be faid of fome other ancient fefts 
which, through the fame miftake of the import of the word, are 
commonly ranked among the herefies which arofe in the church. 
Such were the Ophites, of whom Origen acquaints us, that they 
were fo far from being Chriftians, that our Lord was reviled by 
them as much as by Celfus, and that they never admitted any 
one into their fociety, till he had vented curfes againft Jefus 

Mofheim, fenfible of the impropriety of clafling the declared 
enemies of Chrift among the heretics, as the word is now univer- 
fally applied, and, at the fame time, afraid of appearing to eon- 

* Orig. adv. Celf. lib. I, I A£ls viii. 13. 

J Ov5«et4i)5 T«» I/jS-ay eit«/«yas-« liot Qm Jlifiuvtcutt, «e^>>.<e ovvxuif ©£k >.j- 
yve-i 79» llfftufx. Orig. adv. Celf. Hb. V. 

H Orig. adv. Celf. lib VI.I § Apoi. ida. Dialog, cum Tryphone. 

i[ Adv. Haerefes, lib. I. cap. xx. xxi. 

f^ Opiccyci Kct>^iifiiy»t TcrsiT»f XTcotaef th itixi Xpi^'nttoi, &•«■£ »» iXcfflm KiXra 
xttrri'/ceut xvTVi th I>i5"». Kui ^i) tt^^tj^ov fr^etriic^ttt nvn ith t» ffvitog^nf 
iKVTUf, im f.y. «(g<tc-S>iT«< xxrcc t» I»;j-». Adver. Celf, lib. Vi. 


tradl£t the unanimous teflimony of the three firft centuries, ac- 
knowledges that they cannot be fuitably ranked with thofe fec- 
taries who fprang up within the church, and apologizes, merely 
from the example of fome moderns who thought as he did, for 
his not confidering thofe ancient party- leaders in the fame light 
wherein the early ecclefiaftic authors, as he imagines, had confi- 
dered them. But he has not faid any thing to account for fo 
glaring an inaccuracy, not of one or two, but of all the primitive 
writers who have taken notice of thofe feds. For even thofe 
who deny that they were Chriftians, call them heretics*. Now, 
I will take upon me to fay, that though this, in one lingle writ- 
er, might be the efFeft of overfight, it is morally impoffible that, 
in fo many, it ftiould be accounted for otherwife than by fuppof- 
ing that their fenfe of the word ki^nncoi did not coincide with 
ours ; and that it was therefore no blunder in them, that they 
did not employ their words according to an ufage rvhich came to 
be eftablifhed long after their time. I am indeed furprifed, that 
a man of JVIofheim's critical fagacity, as well as profound know- 
ledge of Chriilian antiquity, did not perceive that this was the 
only reafonable folution of the matter. But what might fome- 
times be thought the moil obvious truth, is not always the firft 
taken notice of. Now, I cannot help confidering the eafy man- 
ner in which this account removes the difficulty, as no fmall 
evidence of the explanation of the word in fcriptural ufe, which 
Vol. I. U u has 

* '• Quotquot tribus prioribus fascuiis Simon'is Magi meminerunt, etfi 
hsereticorum eum familiam ducere jubent. per ea tamen quae de eo refe- 
runt, haereticorura ordioe excludunt, et inter Chrittianee itligionis hofi;es 
collocant. Origenes Siitioniynos ciftrtiffime ex ChriRianis leftis extur- 
bat, eofque noii lefum Ch'iftum, fed Simonem colcre narrat. Cum hoc 
caeteii omnts, alii claris verbis, alii fententiji^uas Simoni tribuunt, con- 
fentiunt : quae quidem fententias "ejus furt aineris, ut nulli conveniant 
qudin homini Christo longuVimt i'e praefc^riii, et divini legati dignitatem 
fibimet ipfi arroganti. Hmc Simoniani etiam, quod Or.ige.nes et JusTixus 
Martyr, praeter alios teltantur, quum Chriftiani quoticiianis periculis ex- 
pofiti effent, nulHs niplcftiis et injuriis afficiebantui : Ciirisium enim eos 
deteftari, publice notum eiat. Sic tgo primus, nin failor, quura ante vi- 
ginti annos de Simone fentirem, eranc, quibus pericuiofum et ntfas videba- 
tur, tot fandtorum viroium, qui Simonem dsreticorum omnium patrem fe- 
cerunt, fidem in oifceptatioricm vocarc,Tot fseculorum auiloritatemcontem- 
nere. Verum fenlim plures hicc fententia paironos, per iplam evidentiam fu- 
am fibi acquilivil. Et non ita pridero tantum poruit apui) Jos. Ai'GUstinum 
Orsi, qiiem fummo cum applaufu ipfius Pontiticis Maximi Roma: Hijlori- 
am Ecclejiajlicarn Italico ferraone fcribere notum e